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Saturday, September 26, 2009

No hotel Babi Yar - yet

We must be thankful for small favors. The Ukrainians will not, after all, build a hotel at the site of the Babi Yar massacre. Not this year, in any case.
Kiev's Mayor has scrapped a plan to build a hotel on a memorial site of one of the most notorious massacres of Jews during the Holocaust, following an international outcry.
Last week, the Kiev municipality approved a plan to build 28 hotels, including one on the memorial site of the Babi Yar attrocity, to accommodate the tens of thousands of visitors expected for soccer's 2012 European Championships.
But Mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi later used his veto to cancel the plan, according to reports Saturday.
On September 29 and 30, 1941, German SS troops, supported by other German units and local collaborators, gathered 33,771 Jewish civilians at the ravine outside Kiev and murdered them with machine guns.
After the Soviet Union's collapse, Ukraine set up a monument on the site.
Chernovetskyi has reportedly been interested in turning his city's remaining green space into real estate and is taking advantage of Euro 2012 to implement his plan, city sources said.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Chutzpa epitomized: Ahmadinejad: We don't have to tell Obama of every nuclear plant we have

Engage this, Mr Obama. Ahmadinejad has no problem lying, and has no problem defending his lies. According to him, the Non-Proliferation Treaty Iran signed doesn't obligate him to report a little thing like a nuclear plant. And the most interesting thing is, Ahmadinejad will probably get away with it.
Obama's saying "I am not naive" is a bit like Nixon saying "I am not a crook." You hear it, but you say, "Yeah, but he really is, you know."
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 19:39 25/09/2009       
Ahmadinejad: We don't have to tell Obama of every nuclear plant we have
By Haaretz Service and Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Israel News, Iran
Iran was not obliged to tell the Obama administration of every uranium enrichment plant it has, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday, turning up the heat in a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
"This does not mean we must inform Mr. Obama's administration of every facility that we have," he told Time magazine in an interview when asked about U.S. President Barack Obama's charge on Friday that a nuclear fuel plant Iran disclosed this week had been built secretly.
*************TIME VIDEO ******
"We have no secrecy, we work within the framework of the IAEA," Ahmadinejad told Time in a reference to the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Ahmadinejad's comments came after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the IAEA must investigate Iran's newly disclosed uranium enrichment plant and Tehran must take immediate steps to show its program is peaceful.
"This is now a clear challenge to the international community," Clinton told reporters in New York after Iran told the IAEA it had a second uranium enrichment plant under construction. The disclosure by Iran came just as six world powers and Iran prepare for rare talks on Oct. 1.
"This facility sharpens our sense of urgency and underscores Iran's absolute need to engage seriously with us on October 1 and take immediate steps to demonstrate the exclusively peaceful nature of their nuclear program," she said after a meeting with Belgium's foreign minister.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry released a statement following the revelation of the second plat, saying "In light of Iran's continuing deception, the international community must step up its demands that Iran halt its enrichment and reprocessing work."
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor today issued the following statement after it was revealed that a second uranium enrichment plant exists in Iran:
"Iran is a real-time security threat to the United States, Israel, and our allies around the world. A nuclear Iran is closer than many thought it was yesterday, and the problem is getting worse by the day, not better.
"The existence of a second uranium enrichment facility not only undercuts the Administration's policy toward Iran, but leaves little doubt that terrorist nations are not to be trusted or negotiated with diplomatically. Congress should act immediately to give the President the tools he needs to implement sanctions on Iran by passing the bipartisan Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act."
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor issued a statement Friday saying Iran "is a real-time security threat to the United States, Israel, and our allies around the world. A nuclear Iran is closer than many thought it was yesterday, and the problem is getting worse by the day, not better."
Cantor added, "The existence of a second uranium enrichment facility not only undercuts the Administration's policy toward Iran, but leaves little doubt that terrorist nations are not to be trusted or negotiated with diplomatically."
Russia: Revelation of Iranian facility disturbing
Russian news agencies are quoting President Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman as saying the revelation of the secret uranium-enrichment plant in Iran is disturbing.
Russia also has urged Iran to provide proof the nuclear program is peaceful by the meeting on October 1st.
Russia's statements could indicate they are willing to join Western nations in stepping up pressure on Iran.
ITAR-Tass quoted Natalya Timakova as saying Friday during the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh that Medvedev will make a statement about Iran's nuclear program.
Timakova was quoted as saying the statement would take into account new
developments that cannot but disturb us.
She said the developments included Iran's recent declaration to the UN nuclear agency, apparently referring to what officials have said was Iran's acknowledgment of a second uranium-enrichment plant it had kept secret.
China responded to news of the secret neactor by saying that they hope Iran "will cooperate with the IAEA on this matter."

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US knew of secret Iranian nuke plant for years

And what else do they know that they aren't saying?
 'U.S. knew of secret Iranian nuclear plant for years'  By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent

The United States has known for years of the existence of a secret Iranian nuclear enrichment facility, a senior U.S. official stated Friday.
The official stated that the facility is well-hidden and well-defended and that Iranian officials admitted to building the facility after they discovered that its existence was known.
The U.S. source said that Iran discovered that U.S. intelligence had compiled a dossier on the facility and the Islamic Republic then sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) disclosing the existence of the facility.
A different U.S. official has stated that next week's meeting in Geneva will be a critical opportunity for Iran to demonstrate its willingness to cooperate with the West. The official added that in the coming weeks, the United States will lead the West in putting forth a policy of "pressure and involvement", which if it fails, will lead to more harsh measures against the Islamic Republic.
The IAEA earlier Friday demanded access to the second plant, which it was informed of by Tehran on Monday.
Two officials told the Associated Press on Friday that Iran revealed the existence of the second plant in a letter sent to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire confirmed receipt of the letter, saying the agency was informed that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction. The letter said that the plant would not enrich uranium beyond the 5 percent level suitable for civilian energy production. That would be substantially below the threshold of 90 percent or more needed for a weapon.
Iran told the agency that no nuclear material has been introduced into the facility, he said. In response, the IAEA has requested Iran to provide specific information and access to the facility as soon as possible.

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Iran's only AWACS type aircraft crashes in air show

According to Defense News:
TEHRAN - Iran's sole Simorgh AWACS aircraft was lost during a military parade Sept. 22, one of two Iranian military aircraft that crashed in Tehran while participating in a display to mark the anniversary of the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force operated a single Simorgh, a former Iraqi Air Force Adnan. The Adnan AWACS was in turn a modification of a Soviet-built Ilyushin Il-76 transport.

The Simorgh collided with one of the Air Force's Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters over the area of the Imam Khomeyni Shrine, southern Tehran. According to eyewitnesses, the crash occurred immediately after the parade. Apparently, no mayday call was issued.

Both aircraft crashed in flames. Initial reports indicate that seven crewmembers were killed in the crash.

In total, Iraq built three AWACS aircraft, one Baghdad, and two Baghdad-2s, the latter later renamed Adnans. One Adnan and the Baghdad were evacuated to Iran during the 1991 Gulf War, while the second Adnan was destroyed on the ground by a coalition air strike in January 1991.

The exact status of the Iranian Simorgh and its onboard systems was long uncertain. However, photographs suggest that the aircraft was equipped with a newly fitted functioning radar suite.

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How Goldstone prevented a real Gaza investigation

After every military operation there should be an investigation, and in well ordered societies, all military actions should be subject to civilian judicial review. This is not the norm, but it should be. In Israel, there are occasionally such reviews, and probably the Gaza operation warranted one. Unfortuanately, Judge Goldstone made such a review of the Gaza operation impossible. After a blood libel it is hard to convince Jews to investigate whether kosher slaughter is humane, and after a "pound of flesh nearest the heart" verdict nobody is going to listen to a call to investigate irregularities in banking practices. It is unclear why Judge Goldstone chose to lead a lynch mob against Israel and to legitimize the Hamas, but in doing so he guaranteed that his hypocritical call for an investigation will fall on deaf ears. He has made matters worse, because he has the effrontery to ignore all counter-evidence, and then to write in Op-Eds that the IDF didn't refute a single one of his claims. If the coals of hell are brought down on his head, it is little enough considering the damage he has done.
Ami Isseroff  
How Goldstone erred
By Benjamin Pogrund
At least three times in his life, Richard Goldstone has gone against prevailing wisdom in taking on challenging jobs. Two were in apartheid South Africa - and he was brilliantly successful in both. The third, his Gaza inquiry, has brought down the coals of hell upon his head.
During the first three decades of apartheid, many judges were appointed because of their loyalty to the Afrikaner government. One result was a decline in the quality and status of South African courts. In response, the government sought to appoint some liberal lawyers of quality. Most, however, were reluctant to join the bench because it meant applying apartheid laws.
Some accepted: Goldstone, who made his name as a barrister in nonpolitical commercial cases, became a Supreme Court judge in 1980. The next year, far from merely applying the law, he handed down a judgment that struck at the heart of a basic apartheid law - the Group Areas Act, which had split the entire country into different areas where people of different races were respectively compelled to live and work, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people of color.
Goldstone ruled in favor of an Asian woman appealing against eviction from her home, and said she first had to be provided with alternative accommodation. His startling judgment ended such evictions.
His second challenging job came in 1991. Apartheid was winding down and the country was beset by violence, in which thousands were killed. A mysterious "Third Force" of government agents was rumored to be behind the killings. President F.W. de Klerk asked Goldstone to head a commission to investigate the terrible violence. Goldstone accepted - and ran it like no other commission before: Over three years, he issued 47 reports, revealing horrendous details about murder squads set up and funded by the government.
Gaza has been Goldstone's latest challenge. He again accepted a mandate from a poisoned source: the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. I have no doubt that he acted with the best of intentions, as he has his entire life, first in South Africa and then in the world, to ensure justice be done. But I also believe that this time, his decision is open to question.
First, Goldstone underestimated the Human Rights Council's malevolence toward Israel. Most members harbor deep hatred for Israel, and wish for no less than its destruction. Goldstone should have been warned off by the refusal of several people before him to accept the job, including former Irish president Mary Robinson.
Second, he accepted the council's mandate, even though it had declared in advance that Israel was guilty of war crimes in Gaza. It is not enough that the council's chairman later said the mandate could include Hamas: Apart from the fact that this statement does not bind the council, his findings on Hamas will mean little or nothing in practice because the organization is not a recognized government and is beyond international action. Israel is the council's target and Goldstone has delivered it. His report has more strength because he is a Jew and enjoys international status.
Third, rejecting objections, he allowed Prof. Christine Chinkin to remain a member of his four-person commission even though, back in January, she had already publicly found Israel guilty, referring to its "prima facie war crimes" in Gaza. Goldstone thus seriously, even fatally, undermined the commission's credibility, and in doing so raised questions about his own good sense.
Fourth, the nearly 600-page report includes many pages of descriptions and allegations of Israeli oppression at home and on the West Bank. That is valid if the intention is to provide a context for Israel's actions in Gaza. But then it must be done properly, with careful research and assessments for a fair presentation of the mix of history, religion, culture and politics that make up the complex situation, including both good and bad. The report does not show that knowledge and understanding; instead, time and again, it's Israel that is bad, bad, bad.
Fifth, the report follows the usual line pursued by members of the council and Israel's other enemies - treating Israel as though it were a unique source of evil instead of examining Gaza in the light of experience elsewhere, in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, where the military has taken on terrorists in a civilian setting.
Richard Goldstone is now under savage attack from many in the Jewish world. Right-wingers have gone berserk, with outpourings of hysterical condemnation. More measured criticism has come from Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, who said there were "very serious concerns about many of the recommendations in the report," and U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, who criticized the report for its "cookie-cutter conclusions" about Israel's actions, while it limited its comments on "the deplorable actions of Hamas to generalized remarks."
But Kelly also urged Israel to further investigate IDF actions in Gaza. And that indeed is what Israel should do. I believed last December and still do that Israel was justified in going into Gaza. But I remain uncertain and uncomfortable about exactly what Israel did and why it did it. Was white phosphorous used over civilian areas? If so, why? What about the early killing of scores of policemen? What about reports that rescue parties were blocked from reaching the wounded, civilians carrying white flags were killed while fleeing and human shields were used? Why were journalists kept out?
The IDF says emphatically that it behaved correctly, but it is not enough for it to investigate itself. An independent investigation is needed - and the obvious person to head it is former Israeli Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, who would give it strength and status, at home and abroad. Israelis need it for their own moral peace of mind, or if wrong was done, to recognize and to address it. Israel needs to be certain that it can tell Goldstone and other critics that their accusations are skewed and unjustified.
Benjamin Pogrund, a former South African journalist, first reported on Richard Goldstone 48 years ago.

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Goldstoned Again

Perhaps an investigation of IDF is in order. An investigation of Goldstone is certainly in order. But who will investigate Goldstone?
(Article by Ben-Dror Yemini, Ma'ariv, 25.9.09, p. B4-5)
Let's start at the end.  Richard Goldstone perpetrated a moral crime.  Not against the State of Israel but against human rights.  He turned them into a weapon for dark regimes.  Goldstone was not negligent.  He did this with malice. 
The criticism that was made in the first days following the report was on the basis of preliminary study.  But time passes.  And the more that the details of this report are revealed, the more it becomes clear that it is a libel.  A libel with legal cover.  A libel that was prepared in advance to incriminate the State of Israel, in the service of Libya and Iran.  Goldstone willingly took up the loathsome role.  He supplied these countries with the goods.  The claim that "the discourse of rights" has become the dark forces' most effective tool is a familiar one.  The Goldstone report is the supreme expression of this.  Its legal terminology is exemplary.  It gushes about international human rights treaties.  But it cannot hide the result: It is a libelous indictment of the State of Israel, in the service of the axis of terrorism and evil.  Yes, there is marginal – very marginal – lip service regarding criticism of Hamas.  Goldstone's ilk is a sophisticated lot.  They now reiterate from every stage, and Goldstone does it well, that they were actually objective.  Here, they also leveled criticism at Hamas.  How enlightened of them!
Goldstone sold his soul for an endless series of lies.  Even Mary Robinson, who is not known as an admirer of Israel, understood that, "This is unfortunately a practice by the [UN Human Rights] Council: adopting resolutions guided not by human rights but by politics. This is very regrettable."  She refused to take the post.  Goldstone took it and carried it out with excessive enthusiasm.  If international law worked as it should, if the representatives of dark regimes did not have an automatic majority in it, Goldstone would have to stand trial.  But this is impossible.  And therefore, not only Israel but every moral person, every person for whom human rights are important, must declare Goldstone a criminal.  Here is the proof.
Let's start with what is not in the report.  In its almost 600 pages there is not one word – there simply isn't! – about Hamas's ideology.  Hamas has a covenantThis covenant is the basis for the conflict between Israel and the demonic entity that has arisen in Gaza.  This covenant is pure anti-Semitism.  This covenant makes it clear that Hamas is no different from the Taliban.  On the contrary, it is worse.  The leaders of Hamas also declare – in their own voices – their solidarity with the Taliban, their desire to take over the entire free world, their hatred of Jews and their abrogation of the ceasefire with IsraelBut there is not one word in the Goldstone report about this.  Contrary to the general impression, Israel is not Hamas's main victim.  As in other
cases where radical Islam grows, most of Hamas's victims since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza – have been MuslimsHamas's Kassam rockets, suicide terrorists, abductions and military operations do not stem from the occupation or the blockade, as the Goldstone Mission either claims or hints.  All of these actions stem from an Islamo-fascist ideology that massacres mainly Muslims.  Even during Operation Cast Lead, Hamas killed more Palestinians than IsraelisGoldstone and his cohorts did not hear about this.
It was one thing if Goldstone had just ignored the link between ideology and actual practice.  But in addition, when he jumps to Israel, he takes the trouble to disparage the Zionist enterprise.  Thus, for example, in Article 207 of the report, in a footnote, he tells about confiscated Palestinian property.  Not that it has any relevance.  But the sophisticated Goldstone had to provide Hamas with justifications.  Historic accuracy?  Certainly not.  This is another product of the industry of lies. Because the property robbed and confiscated from Jewish refugees who were forced out of Arab countries was greater than Arab property left behind in IsraelBut let us not confuse Goldstone by investigating the truth.
There is no need to go far in order to expose the lies.  It is possible to start with the first paragraph.  There, Goldstone says that he was granted the authority, "to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza."  Really? 
At this stage, let us go to the UN Human Rights Council decision to appoint the mission.  Article 14, regarding the mission's authority, says: "To investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission."
The difference is Heaven and Earth.  Goldstone, I repeat, is not stupid.  He is a sophisticated jurist.  He understands that the Human Rights Council decision puts him in a bind.  There is no demand for an investigation.  There are instructions to investigate only Israel, while fixing blame in advance.  Thus Article 14 and thus others in the same document.  How does Goldstone square the circle?  First, he does not mention Article 14 – which is the source of his authority – throughout the entire report.  And second, in cooperation with the Council President, who was authorized to appoint the mission (but not to change its responsibilities), the authorization is improved in order to present a false objectivity.  You see, Goldstone will claim in fawning interviews – we were authorized to investigate both sides.  He is lying and he knows that he is lying.
It is not only the lie in the first paragraph.  It goes on.  In order to supply the goods, Professor Christine Chinkin, an expert on international law, was recruited to the mission, for example.  There is only one problem.  Before being appointed to the mission, Chinkin signed a petition that determined in advance that Israel had perpetrated war crimes.  Can someone who took a position in advance sit on the mission?  And indeed, the mission was presented with a legal suit for her dismissal.  The suit was denied.  There is absolutely no difference between the "judge's" pre-determination and the Council's.  And when dozens of jurists petitioned the mission to dismiss Chinkin, Goldstone rejected them.  It is clear why.  The identity between the judge and the Council was absolute.
We must tarry another moment on the Council's decision.  Any enlightened person should give deference to human rights and the international bodies dealing with them.  This Council is the UN's most important body.  And indeed, it seems that 33 countries participated in the vote on establishing the mission.  And the results: Not one western democracy supported the decision; most abstained.  One country voted against – Canada.  The third-world countries voted in favor, as did all of the Islamic countries.
Can such an automatic majority – of non-democratic countries – be taken seriously?  Certainly not.  The Council will not send a Libyan representative to discuss human rights  The representative from Pakistan, a country which caused millions of refugees only two months ago, in the framework of a just struggle against several hundred Taliban fighters – will find it hard to talk about "collective punishment" on CNN.  For the charade of accusing Israel, one needs an internationally renowned jurist.  He'll do the work.  The automatic dark majority does not need to convince itself.  It needs someone to publish articles in The New York Times and Ha'aretz, and appear on the BBC.
This is how to turn Israel into a pariah.  This is propaganda that even Goebbels the genius didn't dream of.  He is also a Jew; he even has a "Zionist" past.  There could be no casting more perfect.
A precise study of the report reveals how the libel was perpetrated.  This is no cheap, old-fashioned libel.  This is a much more sophisticated libel.  Now it is called a "narrative."  The Goldstone mission builds the narrative one stage after another.  Does libel start with the Kassams that began to fall in 2001?  No way. Does the Executive Summary say anything about the thousands of Kassams that have been fired since and have turned the lives of the residents of southern Israel into hell?  Not with Goldstone.  After the clauses regarding the appointment of the mission members, relevant international law, methodology and Israel's non-cooperation, the mission gets down to business.  The findings.  The factual determinations and the verdict.
And indeed, the narrative begins with Article 27 (of the Executive Summary), entitled "The Blockade."  According to the article, Israel imposed a blockade.  Why?  What happened?  How did it start?  Were there thousands of rockets?  Did Hamas take military control of the Strip, while massacring dozens – maybe hundreds – of Palestinians?  There is not a word in the opening account.  Neither is there any mention of Hamas's internal terrorism against innocent Palestinians.
And this isn't all.  If there is a blockade, it is not only Israel's responsibility.  The Hamas regime has a long border with Egypt.  It seems that this border is completely open.  Hundreds of tunnels operate there on a regular basis and deliver everything the Hamas regime wants.  The mission's Executive Summary makes no mention of the tunnels, the open border with Egypt or the smuggling.  And what does the report say about the blockade?  "Gaza's economy is further severely effected by the reduction of the fishing zone open to Palestinian fishermen."  This is an amazing example of the mission's being recruited for the industry of lies.  And the Palestinians established industries before the "blockade"?  See, there is free movement of materials, through the tunnels.  The problem is that Hamas has chosen only one raw material.  Explosives.  And there is also a flourishing industry.  The production of rockets.  "For the Palestinian people," claimed Fathi Hamad, a Hamas member of Parliament, "death became an industry."   This even appears in Article 475.  But Goldstone, the Devil's advocate, insists on blaming Israel.  The same Fathi, in the same speech, admits with his own voice that Hamas, " created a human shield of women, children, [and] the elderly."  This is also cited in the report.  But Goldstone, " does not consider it to constitute evidence."  (Article 476)  Certainly.  When the result has been pre-determined, even the explicit, filmed and recorded admission of a senior Hamas official, like the video footage of the use of children, will not change the conviction.  Is it possible to call such work by Goldstone "negligence", or is it a crime, in the service of a terrorist regime?
Article 28 simplistically determines that Israel is the occupying power.  Why?  Because.  Only in Article 88 does the mission see fit to mention the disengagement.  As if it had no bearing on the story.  As if Israel had not proven that it had no interest in the Strip.  As if Israel had not fulfilled all of its obligations.  As if Israel had not left the Palestinians to their fate, so that they could govern themselves, without a single soldier or settler.
Article 29 says that Israel embarked on Operation Cast Lead.  Were there barrages of rockets beforehand?  They appear later on but not in the Executive Summary.  Apparently, they are not relevant.  This is how one constructs a lie.  Start with a blockade.  Then a criminal assault.  That's the Executive Summary. 
The mission's lie repeats itself when it presents a false picture of permanent Israeli aggression.  In exactly the same way, the mission says, in Article 193, that Israel began Operation Defensive Shield and caused the killing of hundreds of Palestinians.  There is not even one word about the series of terrorist attacks on cafes, restaurants and buses.  There is not one word about the Passover massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya, in which 30 Israelis were murdered – a massacre which broke Israel's long restraint.
Article 30 deals with the number of casualties but ignores – of course – any study which proves that most of the Palestinian casualties were Hamas personnel.  In order to strengthen the impression, the report presents the number of Palestinian dead as opposed to the number of Israelis.  The proportionality creates the result.  So many Palestinians were killed.  So few Israelis.  According to this logic, NATO perpetrated war crimes in bombing Yugoslavia in 1999, because the results were similar to those in Gaza: Over 1,000 Yugoslav dead (mostly civilians) and zero casualties among the NATO forces.  Thus in Afghanistan as well.  Far more Afghans, civilians and fighters, have been killed than NATO soldiers.  Does this turn the NATO countries and soldiers into war criminals?  And there will yet be proportionality issues.  Pakistan sought to get rid of the vexing problem caused by several hundred Taliban fighters.  It caused thousands of dead and millions of refugees.  Thus also in Lebanon, when it was obliged to fight a few hundred Fatah al-Islam fighters.  Their refugee camp, Nahr al-Bared, was destroyed.  Hundreds were killed and tens of thousands became refugees.
The world understands that these are the proportions of dealing with terrorists, who hide among civilians.  But when Goldstone comes to Israel – he refuses to understand even though Hamas's threat to Israel is greater than the Taliban's threat to Europe or Fatah al-Islam's to Lebanon.  Goldstone knows the new battlefields.  But he ignores because the goal was to demonize Israel.  And therefore, he must lie and mislead. 
Article 32 deals with Israel's bombing of Palestinian Authority buildings, rejects the Israeli claim that these were part of the, "Hamas terrorist infrastructure," and determines that these were, "deliberate attacks on civilian objects in violation of the rule of customary international humanitarian law."  Certainly.  If they ignore the fact that Hamas is a terrorist entity that uses terrorism mainly against innocent Palestinians as well – the result is that this is a legitimate political body.  Maybe even a charitable organization.  Now it is possible to understand why the mission ignores the Hamas Covenant.  It is no coincidence.  It is easier to square the circle that way.
How is Hamas absolved of responsibility for serious crimes?  The Goldstone report cites hundreds of inquiries that were carried out by various groups.  One of the groups cited is, of course, Amnesty International, which has provided countless hostile reports against Israel.  These are cited extensively.  But there was another Amnesty report, issued on 21.2.09.  This surprising report reviews a series of incidents in which Hamas eliminated dozens of Fatah members, during the time of Operation Cast Lead, in Gaza.  And here's the surprise: Of all the reports, it is this one which is not mentioned in the Goldstone report.  There is mention of attacks on Fatah personnel (in Article 80, for example), but with exaggerated effort to minimize the significance of the matter.
The general impression is that Goldstone is much more critical towards Fatah than towards Hamas.  For example, Goldstone blames Fatah for the "refusal to cede control of the security institutions" in favor of the Hamas (Article 190), causing the confrontation between the factions.  Hamas, according to the whole report, is a completely legitimate body that should control the security institutions.  Goldstone stubbornly refuses to see the very anti-Semitic and terrorist nature of Hamas, an entity whose very existence is a crime against humanity.
It is possible to continue, article after article, in order to expose the construction of the deceptions and the lies.  The mission details 36 factual events that prove, as it were, that Israel perpetrated war crimes.  In their reduced framework below, let us examine the attack on the Abd Rabbo family.  This event became one of the most prominent symbols of Operation Cast Lead, received widespread coverage and was mentioned in many reports.  The Goldstone report devotes ten articles (768-777) to this incident.  The mission repeated the claim that family members waived a white flag and that its daughters were murdered in cold blood by Israel.  This claim is not only negligent, it is also a malicious lie.  Thorough checks have shown that family members agave different and contradictory versions.  One of the claims was that this was cold-blooded murder because there were no Hamas personnel in the area.  It seems that this claim has also been refuted, by contradictory testimony, even by Time magazine, to the effect that there were indeed Hamas personnel in the area.  Moreover, it seems that Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that, ""The Abd Rabbo family kept quiet while Hamas fighters turned their farm in the Gaza strip into a fortress."  The testimony is contradictory and the Time and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports were supposed to be before the mission.  But there is not even a hint of them in the Goldstone report, which publishes a libel, even though it has already been contradicted.  The objective has been marked.  The facts will not confuse the mission.
The foregoing is only the tip of the iceberg.  Space is too short to detail the parade of lies known as "the Goldstone Report."  We have presented here only isolated examples about the method.  Goldstone, who chose to collaborate with the dark majority, supplied the goods.  The report deserves a much closer study.  The State of Israel must establish a commission of inquiry, led by top-notch jurists, in cooperation with their colleagues from around the world, in order to examine article after article, claim after claim, and refute the libel.  The deeper one digs into the report, the more it becomes clear that Goldstone is a criminal hiding under the umbrella of human rights.  On behalf of human rights, he and his lies must be exposed.  The truth must come to light.

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Report from an Israeli Submarine: Aboard the 'INS Dolphin'

Aboard the 'INS Dolphin'
Sep. 24, 2009
yaakov katz, reporting from the mediterranean sea , THE JERUSALEM POST
'Dive, dive, dive," yells Cmdr. M. into a loudspeaker that rattles throughout the navy's Dolphin submarine. A second later, the helmsman pushes hard on the vessel's steering system as the submarine dips into a 45-degree angle and descends to almost 300 meters below the choppy Mediterranean.
The submarine is on a routine training exercise a few dozen kilometers off Haifa and the 40-man crew is extinguishing fake fires that erupt in the engine room while searching for leaks among the thousands of pipes that crisscross the sub's ceiling.
In the meantime, after bringing the boat up to periscope depth, Cmdr. M., captain of the INS Dolphin, dashes from one side of the combat information center to the other while monitoring the almost-20 plasma screens that portray everything a submarine commander needs to know - from sonar readings and weapons systems status to fuel and fresh water quantities.
As he turns, a periscope swings up from a hole in the floor in the middle of the CIC. Peering through the binocular-like goggles to inspect the surface, M. ensures that the submarine is a safe distance from other ships loitering around the Haifa Port.
Israel keeps its submarines secret and refuses to divulge details regarding their capabilities or operations. Nevertheless, The Jerusalem Post and three other reporters were given the rare opportunity earlier this month to join the Dolphin crew on a routine training exercise. Just how rare is press access to a sub? Only two other journalists have been allowed on board in the past decade.
The Dolphin, Leviathan and Tekuma - the navy's three Dolphin class submarines - were built in Germany in the mid-1990s according to specifications which reportedly make them the most advanced diesel-electric submarines in the world. They replaced the 23-year-old Gal class submarines.
Often described as Israel's second-strike doomsday weapon due to their ability - according to foreign reports - to launch cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, the submarines are shrouded in an aura of mystery.
But more importantly, naval officers stress, is the fact that no one really knows where the submarines are at any given time. "The fact that you don't know where it is and what it is doing without a doubt strengthens Israeli deterrence," explains Capt. O., commander of Flotilla 7, which operates the submarines.
Beyond their strategic significance, the submarines fit well into standard Israeli naval operations. With a border along the Mediterranean Sea, the role of the navy is to protect the coastline and territorial waters from foreign navies and terror groups. To this end, it carries out regular patrols both in territorial waters and also up to more than 100 kilometers from the shore.
But for a country which receives a significant percentage of its military supplies by sea, defending the sea routes is an existential strategic interest. The navy has invested heavily in its three multimission, ultrasophisticated Sa'ar 5 missile corvettes, but without its submarine fleet, it says, it can't adequately remove the threat of isolation during war.
NOT MUCH can be said about the submarines' participation in recent IDF operations - including the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
"We do things that other platforms cannot do," Capt. O. says vaguely. "Intelligence can be collected either by a drone or a human agent, but a submarine can bring a pool of different sensors together and collect intelligence without anyone even knowing that we are out there."
To maintain this level of secrecy and to continue doing what the submarines have been doing, he says, it is better to avoid the specifics. "I call it covert power projection," says O., who last year was given command of the flotilla after spending a year at Harvard University.
It is exactly this level of secrecy and mystery which attracts youth to try out for the exclusive course. "The navy markets the course as something exclusive and mysterious," explains Lt. Amit, a deck officer responsible for navigation and communication systems. "It has without a doubt lived up to my expectations."
Israel received its first submarine in 1959. Called Tanin, the S-class submarine purchased from Great Britain participated in the Six Day War and launched naval commandos to attack the port of Alexandria. The submarine tried to torpedo an Egyptian ship but was severely damaged by a depth charge attack, resulting in the vessel's decommissioning following the war.
Recognizing the strategic significance of underwater vessels, Flotilla 7 continued to grow and in the 1970s three Gal-class submarines arrived. After 23 years of service, they were decommissioned in the late 1990s following the arrival of the three Dolphin-class subs from Germany.
While production of the Dolphin program was approved in 1989 by defense minister Yitzhak Rabin, it was terminated a year later by defense minister Moshe Arens due to heavy budgetary constraints.
Several months after Arens's decision, however, the First Gulf War broke out and Iraqi Scuds were launched into the country. Subsequent reports that Iraqi chemical warheads, which were never fired, were possibly developed with the help of German companies strained relations between Berlin and Jerusalem, leading the German government to offer humanitarian and military support in the form of two Dolphin-class submarines free of charge. The third submarine was ordered a year later, and the cost was split by Germany and Israel.
The three submarines will soon be joined by another two vessels that are currently under construction by Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW) at a shipyard in Kiel. The new vessels are scheduled to arrive by the middle of the next decade.
WEIGHING ABOUT 1,700 tons and under 60 meters in length, the short, stout shape makes the Dolphin highly maneuverable. Its unusual design provides for three decks. While it is eight meters longer than the old Gal-class subs, the Dolphin-class submarines pale in comparison to the US Trident-class nuclear-powered submarines, which boast a length of 166 meters. Nevertheless, the Dolphin-class vessels are totally automated and computer-integrated, with systems developed by several major Israeli defense companies, including Tadiran, Elbit, IAI and Rada.
They are equipped with both low frequency and passive sonar, and their integrated fire control system lets them track and evaluate a significantly large number of targets. The Dolphin's two periscopes - integrated with night-vision and thermal imaging - were specially designed for the navy and allow anything the captain sees to be relayed to a screen in the CIC.
According to Jane's Fighting Ships, the Dolphin class has the capability of launching swimmer delivery vehicles carrying eight frogmen through its torpedo tubes. The submarines have "considerable commando capability," since they allow swimmers to reach the shore undetected, the journal said.
Due to its small size, every inch of the submarine is used to the maximum. The sleeping quarters are small rooms where the walls are lined by beds maybe half a meter in height, prompting jokes from the crew about how sleeping in them is "good preparation for the grave." There are three bathrooms, which also function as showers and storage rooms. In between meals, the eating area takes turns functioning as a bedroom and a lounge.
Not much is known about the actual operations that the submarines participate in. During the Second Lebanon War, they played a role in imposing a sea blockade on Lebanon to prevent military supplies from reaching Hizbullah. In Cast Lead the submarines were also activated.
In June the submarines made international headlines after the Post was the first newspaper to reveal that one of them had traversed the Suez Canal for the first time. The decision to send the submarine - as well as a Sa'ar 5 corvette - through the canal was a change of policy within the service and a reversal of a 2005 decision by then OC Navy Adm. David Ben-Bashat to stop sending ships through the canal due to growing threats in the area.
The significance of the move was debatable, but it was immediately interpreted as a message to Iran and a demonstration of strengthening ties with Egypt.
In the event of a conflict with Iran, and if Israel decided to involve its three Dolphin-class submarines, the quickest route would be to send them through the Suez Canal. With their reported 4,500 nautical mile range, taking the long way, around Africa, would require the Dolphins to make at least two stops for refueling at a friendly port, or for fuel to be replenished at sea.
"The Red Sea is an area that has significance for us and could turn into an important front for Israel," a senior navy officer says to explain the decision to send the sub through the canal. It is important that we become familiar with it."
THE NAVY'S presence in the Red Sea could also be aimed at the smuggling industry that transports weaponry and explosives to the Gaza Strip.
While Egypt claims that most of the weaponry is smuggled into Gaza via the Mediterranean, Israeli defense officials claim that the weaponry and explosives are smuggled into Gaza via land routes through Africa and up to the Sinai until it reaches the Egyptian side of the Philadelphi corridor.
"A submarine can be in a place without anyone knowing and can collect intelligence without anyone knowing," the senior officer says.
But collecting intelligence is not the submarines' only role. Their missions are also to wreak havoc to the enemy's sea routes, blockade and mine enemy ports, deliver commandos and - according to foreign reports - provide a second-strike capability.
In June 2000, for example, the London Sunday Times reported that Israel had secretly test-fired cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons off the coast of Sri Lanka. Quoting Israeli defense sources, the paper reported that the tests were conducted by two Dolphin-class submarines and involved Israeli-made missiles equipped with conventional warheads hitting targets at sea at a range of about 1,500 kilometers. The sources were quoted as saying the launches were intended to simulate swift retaliation against a preemptive nuclear attack from Iran.
While the IDF dismissed the report, it is exactly this veil of secrecy that helps enhance deterrence.
Israel has never admitted that it has any cruise missiles; however, Jane's Defense Weekly has claimed that it modified the Popeye Turbo into an air-launched cruise missile with a range of more than 200 km. The Popeye was developed and built by Rafael, which has a sophisticated missile development division.
Under a system of rotation, the Times continued, two of the vessels will remain at sea - one in the Red Sea, the other in the Mediterranean, while the third will be kept on standby. The missiles, said the paper, will be fired only after approval by four people: the prime minister, defense minister, chief of General Staff, and navy commander.
For now, the Dolphin class's armament includes Sub Harpoon anti-ship missiles, mines, decoys and STN Atlas wire-guided torpedoes. It has four 650-mm. and six 533-mm. forward torpedo tubes that can be quickly reloaded by six reloads located just behind each tube.
The submarines use diesel engines to power up generators which allow them to remain submerged for several days. The new vessels being assembled in Germany will be fitted with a propulsion system combining a conventional system, consisting of a diesel generator with a lead acid battery, and an air-independent propulsion system used for silent slow cruising, with a fuel cell equipped with oxygen and hydrogen storage.
"With the new German technology," an official close to the deal says, "the new submarines will be able to remain submerged for much, much longer than the older Dolphin models."
Israel, though, is not the only Middle Eastern country bolstering its submarine array. Last year, Egypt began talks with Berlin regarding the potential procurement of similar submarines to the ones developed for Israel. Iran has also announced plans to launch an independent production line for submarines to join the three Kilo-class Russian-made subs it currently operates.
"Militaries are always trying to upgrade their technology," Capt. O. says. "There is a long way to go to catch up to us but we cannot be content and need to always ensure that we are a step ahead." •
This article can also be read at

Continued (Permanent Link)

US, France, Britain, issue ultimatum on second Iran Uranium plant

Nobody would have known of this plant, if the Iranian government had not volunteered the information. A demonstration that inspection and monitoring systems are worthless.
Last update - 17:24 25/09/2009    
 Obama, Sarkozy, Brown issue ultimatum over second Iran uranium plant
 By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and News Agencies  U.S., France, U.K., demand access after Iran informs UN of existence of second uranium enrichment plant. 

Using harsh diplomatic language, the leaders of the United States, Britain and France issued a strongly worded joint condemnation Friday over the existence of a second Iran uranium enrichment plant, revealed earlier this week by Tehran.
Appearing together to issue a statement ahead of the opening of the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh, all three condemned the actions of the Iranian government, and warned that Tehran has a limited deadline to comply with international requirements or face tighter sanctions.
Speaking first, U.S. President Barack Obama said that the three nations had presented the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, with detailed information regarding the second Iranian plant.

"Iran has been building a covert uranium enrichment facility... for several years," Obama said. "We expect the IAEA to immediately investigate this disturbing information."
"Iran's decision to build the nuclear plant underscores its unwillingness to meet international obligations and represents a direct challenge to the basic contract at the center of the non-proliferation agreement," he went on. "Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned that Iran has until December to change its approach to international concerns about its nuclear program, or "sanctions will have to be taken."
"Everything must be put on the table now," Sarkozy said. "Iran is taking the international community on a dangerous path and we cannot let the Iranian leaders gain time while the [centrifuge] motors are running."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meanwhile, mentioned an October deadline for Iranian cooperation, and warned of the dangers of the regime's program.
"Iran's nuclear program is the most urgent proliferation challenge the world faces today," Brown said. "The level of deception by the Iranian goverment... will shock and anger the whole international community, and harden our resolve."
"we are prepared to implement further and more stringent sanctions against Iran if it doesn?t comply with UN Security Council resolutions by October 1," Brown said.
The IAEA earlier Friday demanded access to the second plant, which it was informed of by Tehran on Monday.
Two officials told the Associated Press on Friday that Iran revealed the existence of the second plant in a letter sent to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire confirmed receipt of the letter, saying the agency was informed that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction. The letter said that the plant would not enrich uranium beyond the 5 percent level suitable for civilian energy production. That would be substantially below the threshold of 90 percent or more needed for a weapon.
Iran told the agency that no nuclear material has been introduced into the facility, he said. In response, the IAEA has requested Iran to provide specific information and access to the facility as soon as possible.
Israel and the West have warned that Iran is engaged in a secret nuclear arms program. Iran has denied this claim, maintaining that its program is purely civilian.
The officials said that Iran's letter contained no details about the location of the second facility, when - or if - it had started operations or the type and number of centrifuges it was running.
But one of the officials, who had access to a review of Western intelligence on the issue, said it was about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Tehran and was the site of 3,000 centrifuges that could be operational by next year.
The officials who spoke to the AP - one from a European government with access to IAEA information and the other a diplomat in Vienna from a country accredited to the IAEA - demanded anonymity Friday because their information was confidential. One said he had seen the Iranian letter. The other told the AP that he had been informed about it by a UN official.
Iranian officials had previously acknowledged having only one plant - which is under IAEA monitoring - and had denied allegations of undeclared nuclear activities.
An August IAEA report said Iran had set up more than 8,000 centrifuges to churn out enriched uranium at its cavernous underground facility outside the southern city of Natanz. The report said that only about 4,600 centrifuges were fully active.
Ahmadinejad made no mention of the plant during his visit this week to New York for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, and rather stressed the fact that Iran had fully cooperated with the IAEA inspectors and that allegations of a nuclear weapons program are fabrications.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to the United Nations General Assembly

PM Netanyahu's Speech at the UN General Assembly
Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland.
I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.
The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust.  It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events.  Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth.
Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants.  Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.
Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee.  There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people.  The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments.
Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews.   Is this a lie?
A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.  Those plans are signed by Hitler's deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself.  Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered.  Is this too a lie?
This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp.  Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie? And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie?
One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration.  Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own.  My wife's grandparents, her father's two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis.  Is that also a lie?
Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium.  To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you.  You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.
But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame?  Have you no decency?
A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace!  What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!
Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews.  You're wrong.  History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.
This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.
In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims.   It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others.  Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.
The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization.  It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death. The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century.  The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day. 
Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future.  And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope.   The pace of progress is growing exponentially.  It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet. 
What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come.
We will crack the genetic code.  We will cure the incurable.  We will lengthen our lives.  We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.  
I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment.  These innovations the world over offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.
But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time.   And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind.
That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction, and the most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge?  Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?
Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood?
Will the international community thwart the world's most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism?
Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?
The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime.  People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall.   Will the United Nations stand by their side?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging.
Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims.  That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.
For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities.   Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks.
We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one.
In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza.  It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis.
We didn't get peace.  Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv.   Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare.
You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent.
Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond.  But how should we have responded?
Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country's civilian population.  It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II. 
During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties.   Israel chose to respond differently.  Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.
That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances.
Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas.  We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave.
Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy's civilian population from harm's way.   Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel.
A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.
By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals.  What a perversion of truth!  What a perversion of justice!
Delegates of the United Nations,
Will you accept this farce?    Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat.
If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity.
And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace.  Here's why.  When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop.  Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense.
What legitimacy?  What self-defense?
The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country - of war crimes?  And for what?  For acting responsibly in self-defense.  What a travesty!
Israel justly defended itself against terror.  This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments.   Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?
We must know the answer to that question now.   Now and not later.  Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow.
Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All of Israel wants peace.   Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace.   We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat.  We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein.
And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace.  But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace.
In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state.  The Jews accepted that resolution.  The Arabs rejected it.   We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years:  Say yes to a Jewish state.
Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people.   The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel.   This is the land of our forefathers.
Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation.  They shall learn war no more."   These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city - in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem.   We are not strangers to this land.  It is our homeland.
As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own.   We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity.
But we must have security.  The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.
That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized.   We don't want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.
We want peace.
I believe such a peace can be achieved.  But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order.
The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.
Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the "confirmed unteachability of mankind," the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.
Churchill bemoaned what he called the "want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong."
I speak here today in the hope that Churchill's assessment of the "unteachability of mankind" is for once proven wrong. 
I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history -- that we can prevent danger in time.
In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage.  Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Leonard Cohen performs in Israel, defies boycott


RAMAT GAN, Israel — Leonard Cohen wowed an adoring audience Thursday night, crooning his iconic ballads at his first show in Israel in 30 years and ignoring a political storm over his appearance.

The 75-year-old singer entertained fans at Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv for more than three hours. Some in the audience wore black fedora hats, a tribute to one of Cohen's trademarks.

The concert sparked a protest long before it took place on a warm night near the Israeli seashore.

Some Palestinian activists called for a boycott because of Israel's punishing invasion of Gaza, aimed at stopping daily rocket attacks. More than 1,150 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed in the three-week offensive that ended in mid-January.

Cohen responded by offering to perform in the West Bank city of Ramallah as well. He said all proceeds from the shows would go to Israeli-Palestinian peace organizations.

But a pro-Palestinian group called "Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel" urged the singer to cancel the shows and launched a protest campaign.

"There are a lot of people who don't want us here, and anything done here invites controversy," Cohen's manager, Robert Kory, told The Associated Press. "But we believe freedom of speech is very, very important."

Kory said the singer established a foundation, "The Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace," to distribute proceeds from the concert.

At an event launching the foundation before the concert, Israeli novelist David Grossman, whose son was killed in Israel's 2006 war in Lebanon, said he hoped for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. "We are here today to show that with a joint effort, we can redeem each other from this hate," he said.

"Cohen wants the money to go toward changing hearts and to bring peace," Kory said. He said most of the money will go to the Parents Circle, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group of bereaved parents that helps families from both sides who lost loved ones in the conflict.

During the concert, Cohen praised the Parents Circle several times. Palestinian members of the group were seen in the audience.

Top international musicians are slowly returning to perform in Israel after years of staying away due to violence and political tensions. Madonna, Depeche Mode, Faith No More, and others have appeared this year.

The 47,000 tickets for Cohen's concert were snatched up within hours when they went on sale earlier this month. Prices ranged from $90 to $315.

Cohen performed Thursday night meticulously dressed in a tailored suit and hat, clutching the microphone as he sang but showing no apparent affects from an incident last week, when he fainted during a concert in Spain.

The Canadian songwriter, best known for his dark poetic lyrics, has been making music since the late 60's. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

He has been on a worldwide tour since May 2008, and earlier this year played in Australia and Europe. After Israel, he goes on to perform at U.S. venues.

Cohen had to come out of retirement five years ago when he discovered that most of his retirement fund had disappeared in a disputed case of mismanagement while he spent time at a Buddhist monastery.

He last performed in Israel in 1975. Before that, Cohen entertained Israeli troops during the Mideast war in 1973.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Is there a 'Zionist' opinion about the USA health care controversy?

Domestic issues of other countries are not properly the concern of Israel or Zionists except to the extent that they may involve Israel, Jews or human rights issues that should be of concern to everyone. Zionism didn't take an official stand on health care, but concern for health care and public health has been an essential part of Zionist endeavor almost from the start, carried forward by the Hadassah organization from 1912, and by the Histadrut soon after, and then evolving into a successful single payer health system. As a result, Israel has one of the best public health records in the world, and this was extended to the Palestinian territories as well, so Palestinians have a better health record than most surrounding Arab countries, propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding. Considering that a century ago Palestine was rife with trachoma, malaria, typhus and other diseases, had poor sanitation and abysmal infant morality, that's quite an accomplishment. The record speaks for itself. US Life Expectancy  (2009 Est.): 78.11 years (Rank 35) Israel: 80.73 years (Rank 10).  Infant mortality : United States 6.6 / 1000; Israel 3.5 / 1000. Considering that US GDP is roughly twice that of Israel, that should tell you most of what  you need to know about public health care and single payer systems. There's a downside too though - Israeli doctors and insurance companies are not as wealthy as those in the US.
Ami Isseroff
Health Care Lessons From Israel
In the debate over health care reform, what can the United States learn from Israel? Dr. Dani Filc, author of "Circles of Exclusion: The Politics of Health Care in Israel," has some ideas. Filc is a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University and chairman of Physicians for Human Rights.

The current discussion about health care reform in the United States sounds strange for anyone living in a country with a public, universal, health care service. Indeed, it is difficult to consider a country that does not guarantee its citizens universal access to health care as a true democracy.
For those who have no access to health care, basic principles like equality of opportunity are empty slogans. You cannot be an active member of the political community if you are not healthy enough, and although access to health care services is not the main contributor to health, still its importance is undeniable.
Thus, health care cannot be considered as any other commodity, to be bought and sold in the free market. Rather, access to health care must be universal and guaranteed by the state.
This is the reason, as President Obama claimed, most democratic societies guarantee the right to health care services. This is why for me the public option is actually a no brainer. Without it, one of the most basic human rights, as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is denied.
This is not to say that once a public option is adopted, other problems do not emerge. In Israel, unfortunately, a gap exists between the theoretical commitment to universal health care services and its implementation. Theoretically, Israel guarantees access to health care to every inhabitant.
The National Health Insurance law of 1994 declares that equal access to health care is a right. The law guarantees every Israeli a relatively broad health care basket of services. The Israeli system combines the advantages of single payer systems, with choice between different providers. In order to cover health expenditure, every citizen pays some 5 percent of his or her income as an ear-marked health-tax and the state adds monies from the general budget. Services are provided by four public, non-profit, health management organizations, with the state remaining responsible as a last resort.
Unfortunately, in practice there are several obstacles for the real enjoyment of the right of access to health care services. First, the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories do not enjoy access to health care services since they are not covered by the National Health Insurance law. Moreover, Israel did not allow for the development of good quality services in the Occupied Territories and has dramatically restricted the freedom of movement which severely limits access to health care.
Second, the Israeli structure of citizenship excludes migrant workers from access to the public health care system. Documented migrant workers are insured with private insurers that provide much more limited coverage than the public system. Undocumented migrants lack regular access to health care and have access only to very limited services: life saving emergency medicine, pregnancy and well-baby follow up, and treatment for specific diseases such as tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases.
Third, while the Israeli Arab minority is covered by the National Health Insurance system, its health indicators are worse than those of the Jewish population. This stems from differences in the social determinants of health such as poverty or geographical segregation and other inequalities caused by segregation and lack of development of culture-sensitive health care services.
Finally, the neo-liberalization of Israeli society has eroded the Israeli health care system. During the last decade there is a tendency to shift costs from the state to the individual citizen in the form of increasing copayments, and restrictions on the development of the public sector are driving those who are able to pay to buy complementary private insurance.
As a result, inequalities in access to health care services have increased, and in the past decade about forty percent of Israel's poorest population claimed that they have refrained from buying prescription drugs or visiting a physician because of high copayments.
What can the Israeli case teach Americans during a period of heated debate over health care reform?
While the prolonged occupation, the discrimination and segregation of migrant workers and discriminatory treatment of the Israeli Arab minority have built circles of exclusion from access to health care, all those who are included within the public insurance system enjoy an efficient, broad and still relatively generous health care system. Indeed, the overall health indicators in Israel are better than those of the United States.
The combination of a single-payer system with the possibility to choose between four public providers makes the system relatively equal, efficient and broad. Eighty percent of Israeli citizens are satisfied with their provider and Israel's national health expenditure is slightly lower than 9 percent of GDP, which is slightly more than half the American national expenditure on health.
Even though physicians earn considerably less in Israel than in the United States, as a practicing physician I can say than we enjoy more clinical freedom and significantly less paperwork than American physicians dealing with for-profit HMO's and insurance companies. Moreover, when thinking about health policy we need to think much more about the benefit of patients and not of physicians.
Americans, in sum, can learn a great deal from Israel. The advantages of a public single payer health care system which leaves room for individual choice is something that they should adopt without hesitation.

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US Middle East Foreign policy going nowhere?

Obama and the Middle East

by Efraim Inbar

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: US President Barack Obama has adopted an activist foreign policy, attempting to engage the Muslim world and signaling his expectation that an end the Israel-Palestinian conflict can be negotiated within two years. This ambitious agenda has so far produced meager results. Many regional players are primarily concerned about Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, and are not easily amenable to American overtures.

US President Barack Obama's summit meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas in New York this week was a good thing, but it amounted to little more than a photo opportunity. The impatient Obama demanded that the parties seriously discuss peace now. Obama appeared to be on the verge of enunciating his own peace plan in order to restart peace negotiations and to eventually end the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict-- all within two years!

It is worth reminding the president that the many past US peace plans for the Middle East failed to bring the anticipated results. Moreover, the recent meeting in New York only reinforces the evaluation that after eight months in office, the record of Obama's policy toward the Middle East is far from impressive.

Obamaג€™s much heralded speech to the Muslim world in Cairo failed to make a dent in Middle Eastern realities and attitudes. His belief in the power of words to change people is naive when it comes to well-rooted attitudes or entrenched interests of nations. In instances where the US sided with Muslims when in conflict with non-Muslims, such as in Pakistan, Bosnia and Kosovo, there was little impact on Muslim dispositions. The anti-American rage among Muslims, primarily Arabs, is a result of a concatenation of factors: frustration originating from past grandeur, current poverty, backwardness, and a dark future; a cultural difficulty to accept responsibility; and a preference to blame others for failures to modernize and democratize. While words have great importance in Muslim culture, even the best of speeches cannot change the tide of history. Obamaג's words are unlikely to have long-term positive effects for the US, which in final analysis is seen as foreign and domineering.

The "soft power" that this administration extols has its limitations, particular in a region where the use of force is part and parcel of the rules of the game and fear is a better political currency than empathy or love.

So far the ג"engagement" policy toward Iran, which is part of the new approach to the Muslim world, has produced no results. The nuclear program of Iran continues, and its new proposal to the West did not provide any opening for negotiations on the nuclear issue.

Similarly, the engagement of radical Syria hardly changed Syrian policies. Damascus still supports Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza; allows insurgents to infiltrate Iraq in order to destabilize the current regime; refuses to enter peace negotiations with Israel without preconditions; and above all continues its alliance with Iran. Why should Assad change Syrian foreign policy if he fears no American wrath? As a matter of fact, Iran, Syria, as well as the rest of the Middle East, see "engagement" primarily as an American weakness.

Obama's Washington does not get anywhere even with its friends. The leaders in all Arab countries know that the American ג€�engagementג€� of Iran is hopeless in stopping the nuclearization of Iran. During his August trip to Washington, Mubarak of Egypt tried to inject sense into the young American president. Moreover, Mubarak rejected Obama's offer for a nuclear umbrella. So did other pro-American Arab states. American promises to defend them are simply not credible if the US is reluctant to use military force to stop the Iranian nuclear threat.

The impending American withdrawal from Iraq and the difficulties in "fixing" Afghanistan contribute to the general sense of a decline in American influence in the Middle East. Indeed, as regional politics take their toll, a Pax Americana in the Middle East is no longer seen as a viable option for providing progress and prosperity. It is not only the Palestinians that have failed to develop a capacity to govern, with institutions that respond to the needs of the people. The political malaise of the Palestinians is not unique. We see several additional failed states in the Arab world: Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and even Iraq. Pakistan, a Muslim state, is in danger of collapsing. Even American conquests, such as in Iraq and in Afghanistan, coupled with generous international aid, are not enough to transform these countries. Neither American speeches, nor American  "soft power" are able to reform societies deep in crisis. Only a modernizing local leadership can do the trick.

Ignoring the harsh realities of Palestinian domestic politics, Obama is now trying to restart the bogged-down Israel-Palestinian peace track. Yet the Arabs have rejected American demands for gestures toward Israel in order to facilitate a settlement freeze (the latter curiously seen as a panacea for peace between Israelis and Palestinians). Moreover, Washington fails to understand that as long as the Palestinians are deeply divided and Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist organization dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, there is no available partner for peace talks. Nevertheless, Obama is committed to push forward on the peace process.

Unfortunately, the gap between Israelis and Palestinians is too large to bridge, while the two societies still have enormous amounts of energy to fight for what is important to them. This situation requires conflict management, rather than ambitious and misguided peace plans.

What is missing in Washington is healthy skepticism and a realistic foreign policy based upon the premises that not all problems are soluble and that foreigners have limited capacity to induce change. Finally, Obamaג€™s Washington seems unaware of the fact that the regional parties have great obstructive power. Only when they are ready there will be peace.

Efraim Inbar is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies.

BESA Perspectives is published through the generosity of the Littauer Foundation.

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Iran exiles: Iran is conducting nuclear weapons detonator research

One could have suspected this is so, but now there seems to be a smoking gun (or rather, smoking implosion mechanism).
Last update - 15:02 24/09/2009       
Exiled Iranians name sites of alleged nuclear bomb research
Iran is currently conducting research and development on nuclear weapons, an exiled opposition group claimed Friday in Paris - identifying two locations near Tehran where such work is allegedly taking place.
"This site and centre are the locations for research and production of the explosion system of an atomic bomb, which is one of the most important aspects of the mullahs' nuclear weapons project," Mehdi Abrishamchi, an official of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, referring to Iran's clerical leaders.
In contrast, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Islamic state probably ended weapons-related work in 2003.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has received intelligence information indicating that such research could have been conducted in the past, but has not drawn a final conclusion to confirm this.
The ongoing efforts were being conducted by an entity called Research Centre for Explosion and Impact (MEFTAZ), affiliated with the Defense Ministry and housed in an unmarked building in Tehran, Abrishamchi said at a press conference.
Among other tasks, that centre was working on computer simulations, he said.
The Paris-based NCRI also alleged that there was a second site near Sanjarian village for building technical components and testing high explosives.
In nuclear weapons, high explosives are placed around a core of nuclear material and triggered simultaneously in order to implode the core and cause a nuclear chain reaction.
Iranian officials have told the IAEA that they experimented with simultaneous detonators in the past, but said the work was done for civilian rather than military use.
A diplomat close to the Vienna-based agency said its inspectors had not found anything suggesting ongoing Iranian efforts in that field.
Tehran's leaders say they have no interest in nuclear energy except for electricity generation and other peaceful uses.
The Paris-based NCRI made its allegations one week before Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States are scheduled to hold talks with Iran in Geneva, where the world powers expect a serious response to their concerns over Iran's nuclear program.
The NCRI is considered the political wing of the People's Mujahedin of Iran, a group that seeks to overthrow Iran's clerical regime.
In 2002 the NCRI played an important role in revealing Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran had kept secret from IAEA inspectors. Later claims regarding Iran's nuclear activities failed to be equally substantial.
Abrishamchi said the information was collected by dozens of sources of the Muhajedin in Iran.

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White house denies decision to quash the Goldstone report

Some things should not need to be spelled out. It is impolitic for the US to say in so many words that it will quash the Goldstone report, and the official who made the statement did damage.

A top White House official told Jewish organizational leaders in an off-the-record phone call Wednesday that the U.S. strategy was to "quickly" bring the report -- commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council and carried out by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone -- to its "natural conclusion" within the Human Rights Council and not to allow it to go further, Jewish participants in the call told JTA.

Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, called JTA later to say the official "misspoke" and that administration policy on the Goldstone report remains as articulated last week by Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador.

Rice described the UNHRC mandate as "unbalanced, one sided and basically unacceptable. We have very serious concerns about many of the recommendations in the report. We will expect and believe that the appropriate venue for this report to be considered is the Human Rights Council and that is our strong view."

She did not mention what the United States would do were the report to be referred to the ICC.

The report said the U.N. fact-finding mission investigating Israel's conduct during the January 2009 war found evidence of Israeli war crimes. Israel has denied the allegations and said the report's mandate was biased -- an opinion echoed by U.S. officials.

The Obama administration is ready to use the U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council to deal with any other "difficulties" arising out of the report, the White House official said Wednesday. The administration also has made clear to the Palestinian Authority that Washington is not pleased with a P.A. petition to bring the report's allegations against Israel to the International Criminal Court.

The official said the Obama administration's view was that the report was flawed from its conception because the mandate presumed a priori that Israel had violated war crimes and that the mandate ignored Hamas' role in prompting the war through its rocket fire into Israel.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where Tutu (and Gandhi) got it wrong

Where Tutu and Gandhi got it wrong
Tutu, a longtime critic of Israel, recently again unloaded on the Jewish state. The scene was Israel's security fence in the Arab community of Bilin, in the West Bank. It is there that activists gather every week to protest a barrier that deeply inconveniences and disrupts Palestinian life. Tutu said the activists reminded him of Gandhi, who managed to overthrow British rule in India by nonviolent means, and King, who took up the struggle of a black woman too tired to go to the back of a segregated bus. No mention was made of the hundreds of deadly Palestinian suicide bombings that led to the erection of the barrier, or that this nonlethal defense has thwarted multiple attacks, saving Jewish and Arab lives.
Tutu then added this admonition: "The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns."
Because Tutu invoked the Holocaust, it would be instructive to learn what Gandhi, in his own words, thought about the Jews, Nazis and Palestine. In 1938, just after Kristallnacht, when the Nazis systematically destroyed Germany's and Austria's synagogues, Gandhi wrote these shameful words:
"The German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history. ... [Hitler] is propounding a new religion of exclusive and militant nationalism in the name of which any inhumanity becomes an act of humanity to be rewarded here and hereafter. ... If there ever could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, a war against Germany, to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race, would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war. A discussion of the pros and cons of such a war is therefore outside my horizon or province.
"Can the Jews resist this organized and shameless persecution? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect, and not to feel helpless, neglected and forlorn? I submit there is. ... If I were a Jew and were born in Germany ... I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon. ... And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy. ... The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant."
So after urging Europe's Jews to joyfully accept the Nazi onslaught, here was Gandhi's advice to the 600,000 Jews living in the Holy Land:
"The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the Earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?
"Palestine belongs to the Arabs. ... Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home. ... The Palestine of the biblical conception is not geographical tract. It is in their hearts. ... They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart. The same God rules the Arab heart who rules the Jewish heart. They can offer ... themselves to be shot or thrown into the Dead Sea without raising a little finger against them. They will find the world opinion in their favor in their religious aspiration. ... I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of nonviolence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds."
Clearly, Gandhi's words serve as his South African disciple's bible for today's Israel-Palestinedispute.
But it is hard to understand how Tutu can invoke King's views as a rationale for his own on Israel. As Georgia Rep. John Lewis wrote in a 2002 column, King "consistently reiterated his stand on the Israel-Arab conflict, stating 'Israel's right to exist as a state in security is uncontestable.' And ... less than two weeks before his tragic death, he spoke out with clarity and directness: 'Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. ... Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality.' "
King also had this to say in 1968 about anti-Zionism at Harvard University: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews; you are talking anti-Semitism."
Today, Gandhi's influence is still keenly felt globally. Yet it is interesting to note that India today rejects its spiritual founder's worldview. A nuclear power, it has adopted Israel's approach to threats from suicide bombers and other terrorists.
So with all due respect to Tutu, Israel and the Jewish people are clear about the lesson of the Holocaust: that never again will the destiny of our people be placed in the hands of others. For 2,000 years, Jews depended on pity; they had no land and no army, and what they got in return were inquisitions, pogroms and the Nazi genocide. The Holocaust also taught us that freedom and justice come to those who are prepared to fight for them.
Rabbi Marvin Hier is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the center.

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U.S. will prevent Goldstone recommendations from reaching ICC

Sept. 23, 2009
U.S. pledges to quash Goldstone recommendations
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Obama administration will not allow the Goldstone report recommendations on Israel's conduct in the Gaza war to reach the International Criminal Court.
A top White House official told Jewish organizational leaders in an off-the-record phone call Wednesday that the U.S. strategy was to "quickly" bring the report -- commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council and carried out by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone -- to its "natural conclusion" within the Human Rights Council and not to allow it to go further, Jewish participants in the call told JTA.
The report said the U.N. fact-finding mission investigating Israel's conduct during the January 2009 war found evidence of Israeli war crimes. Israel has denied the allegations and said the report's mandate was biased -- an opinion echoed by U.S. officials.
The Obama administration is ready to use the U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council to deal with any other "difficulties" arising out of the report, the White House official said Wednesday. The administration also has made clear to the Palestinian Authority that Washington is not pleased with a P.A. petition to bring the report's allegations against Israel to the International Criminal Court.
The official said the Obama administration's view was that the report was flawed from its conception because the mandate presumed a priori that Israel had violated war crimes and that the mandate ignored Hamas' role in prompting the war through its rocket fire into Israel.


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Iran - the world is waking up?

Countries trying to convince Russia and China that long-term interests actually lie in the Gulf
    * Julian Borger in New York
    *, Wednesday 23 September 2009 19.44 BST
Gulf Arab states are to play a new role in the increasingly desperate race to stop Iran's nuclear programme by using their economic leverage to line up support for new tough sanctions, Arab and European officials said today.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will use the prospect of oil contracts, arms deals and work visas to persuade Russia and China - who have been resisting tougher UN sanctions - that their long-term strategic interests lie in the Gulf, not in Iran.
"China and Russia have so far not been presented with the right incentives. They have not been presented with a better substitute," said Sami al-Faraj, an adviser to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional body.
GCC representatives will meet at the UN today with diplomats from the six nations handling nuclear negotiations with Iran - the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - to discuss what the role the Arab states can play ahead of a critical meeting with Iran next week.
A European official confirmed that the Gulf states were playing more of an active role to persuade Russia and China to support tougher economic sanctions if the 1 October meeting of the six-nation negotiating group with Iran does not bring compromise on Tehran's uranium enrichment programme.
It is hoped that economic inducements from the Gulf, combined with Barack Obama's decision last week to abandon a missile defence scheme in eastern Europe, will help win backing from Moscow and Beijing for new UN punitive measures that would go beyond the targeted financial sanctions currently operation, and strike instead at Iran's oil and gas industry.
The Moscow press reported tonight that the Russian delegation "did not rule out" further sanctions.
Foreign ministers from the six-nation group are due to meet tonight in the margins of the UN general assembly to agree a common position before the 1 October meeting. The draft joint text included a warning of further "steps" if Iran does not show signs of compromise at the meeting, but did not elaborate, on the insistence of Russia and China. A European official said Gulf help in persuading Russia and China was useful but was sceptical of the GCC's ability to remain united.
"They talk a good game in private, but when you get them all in a room and ask a difficult question, then they tend to split down the middle," the official said.
However, al-Faraj said the growing Iranian threat in the eyes of the Gulf states, combined with the failure of the six-nation negotiating group to make progress, had stiffened resolve in the region.
"There has been a change of mood in the GCC leadership," al-Faraj, a Kuwaiti strategic analyst, said. "The decision has been taken to play a role."
He listed China and Russia's interest in establishing free trade arrangements with the Gulf, Russia's desire to sell arms, and China's anxiety to seal oil exploration agreements in the region, and to win visas in the Gulf for Chinese workers as among the principal levers that can be pulled to win support for UN sanctions.
Saudi Arabia is reported to be on the verge of a deal to buy over $2bn worth of Russian arms, in the wake of a bilateral military agreement signed last year.
The Saudi monarchy is not pursuing the deal primarily for military purposes, some officials speculated today, but for diplomatic reasons - as an inducement to Russia not to sell advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.
For the same reason, Kuwait is also said to have agreed to reschedule Russian debt and Bahrain has opened talks to buy Russian jet fighters. The GCC as a whole is negotiating with China to issue up to a million work visas to absorb some of the rising ranks of the Chinese unemployed.
"Everyone has something to offer," al-Faraj said. "We need to go to work as a coalition in peace like we have done in war, if we are to prevent another war."
Arab states have been alarmed by the spread of Iranian influence in Lebanon and in Gaza and are concerned that Iran might attempt to become the single dominant power in the Middle East through the development of nuclear weapons.
Iran insists its nuclear programme has an entirely peaceful purpose, for the generation of electricity. The country's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said today Tehran supported the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons.

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Not a joke - In Iran, mannequins must wear hijab

'Iranians who violate dress codes for the first time are generally cautioned, but repeat offenders can face court action and "guidance classes".' Do the mannequins go to such classes too?
Iran police 'target mannequins' 

 Iranian women are often the target of crackdowns on Western-style dress
Iranian police have warned shopkeepers not to display female mannequins without a
hijab, or showing bodily curves, Irna news agency reports.
Display of bow ties and neckties, and the sale of women's underwear by men are also banned, the police said.
The move is part of a crackdown on Western influences and enforcement of dress codes in recent years.
"Un-Islamic behaviour" has been targeted since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first election in 2005.
"Using unusual mannequins exposing body curves and with heads without hijabs [Muslim veils] are prohibited to be used in the shops," police said in a statement carried by Irna.
Correspondents say that in the past such campaigns usually only lasted throughout the summer, but last year's crackdown, including on tight trousers for women, was still continuing in the winter.
Iranians who violate dress codes for the first time are generally cautioned, but repeat offenders can face court action and "guidance classes".

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Jew conspiracy does it again - stops book burner from being culture Czar

If it wasn't for the international Jew conspiracy, Egypt's book-burning culture minister would have become head of UNESCO, culture czar of the UN. That's what Farouk Hosni contends. Other than Jews, everyone things culture czar's should advocate book burning it seems.
Farouk Hosny says "European countries and the world's Jews" wanted him to lose. Obviously, he was the ideal candidate, right?
Shame on those wicked Jewz.

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Netanyahu NBC Interview: "Let's meet and let's talk peace... Let's just get together and do it."

NBC interview with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 
23 Sep 2009
"Since being installed as prime minister, which was about six months ago, I said, "Let's meet and let's talk peace. Let's not talk about talking peace. Let's just get together and do it." And I'm glad that President Obama hosted this meeting. And I think, with good will from all sides, we can get this thing going." 
MR. LAUER: Benjamin Netanyahu is the prime minister of Israel.
Mr. Prime Minister, it's good to have you here. Good morning.
LAUER: Let me put that picture right back up, okay, the handshake between you and Mr. Abbas. Does it mean anything? Does it show any sign of progress? Or is that a long-overdue photo op?
PM NETANYAHU: Well, I think it's long overdue, and I don't think it's just a photo op. I mean, I've been -- since being installed as prime minister, which was about six months ago, I said, "Let's meet and let's talk peace. Let's not talk about talking peace. Let's just get together and do it." And I'm glad that President Obama hosted this meeting. And I think, with good will from all sides, we can get this thing going.
LAUER: But where do we stand? I mean, the president -- you're saying the right things. President Obama is saying the right things. He says it's the time to act. There's a window of opportunity. He's going to send Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell back to the Middle East and try and build on this progress.
But the fact of the matter is, George Mitchell just returned from the Middle East and accomplished almost nothing. He didn't get the Palestinians to agree to negotiate without preconditions. He didn't get you to agree to dropping your insistence there could be no freeze of settlements. So where do we stand? What progress can we build on?
PM NETANYAHU: I think the crucial thing is preconditions. We can all pile on preconditions from here to infinity and we'll waste another six months or another six years. I think the main point is to do exactly what we began doing yesterday -- to get into a room and say, "Look, how do we get a real peace between Israel and the Palestinians? Why don't we resolve our problems so we can give our children a better future?"
Now, mind you, I haven't waited. We've been six months in office. We've removed hundreds of roadblocks, checkpoints, opened the Allenby Bridge so goods and services and people can come back and forth into the West Bank. The results are spectacular. The West Bank economy, according to the IMF, is growing at 7 percent. If we meet and talk, we can make it grow double-digit. And that is good for peace. It's not a substitute --
LAUER: Your critics say this. They say -- you say that you're willing to talk to the Palestinians without preconditions. But by refusing to freeze settlements on the West Bank, they say that that's a hollow promise, that you know you have basically stopped peace talks before they can begin. How do you respond to that?
PM NETANYAHU: This is an amazing claim. We've been talking to the Palestinians from 1993, which is, what, 16 years, successive Israeli governments to successive Palestinian administrations. There's never been this precondition of freezing settlements ever put up. It's just been put up now artificially.
Now, look, I'm willing to make gestures to help the peace process.
LAUER: How big a gesture?
PM NETANYAHU: Well, we'll get there very soon, I suppose. But I'll tell you one thing I'm not willing to do. I can't freeze life. There are a quarter of a million people there in these communities, which are called settlements. They're really most of them bedroom suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They need schools. They need kindergartens. They need health clinics.
Mind you, the fate of the settlements will be determined in the negotiations, at the end of the negotiations. But you can't determine it before the negotiations. So I think the sooner we get off this obstacle and get down to the business of forging the real peace, with the Palestinians recognizing the Jewish state of Israel and along for them a demilitarized state -- that is, a state in which they can govern themselves with all the powers they need; absent those, it could threaten the state of Israel -- I think that's the winning formula for peace --
LAUER: Let me ask you about --
PM NETANYAHU: -- a demilitarized state that recognizes the Jewish state.
LAUER: Does President Obama -- blunt question -- possess right now the clout and the power to move this process forward? Some have suggested that the weak economy in this country has weakened this president to the point where he has no clout.
PM NETANYAHU: Oh, I disagree. I think any president of the United States wields clout. Don't sell short the United States of America and its presidents, including President Obama. Of course he has clout. Of course he commands respect.
I think also his speech to the Arab world was very important, because many in the Arab world will say if President Obama supports this process, if he would support an outcome or resolution that Mr. Abbas and myself would arrive at, that would have, I think, an important boost -- it would give an important boost to a peace that we want.
And I think we can achieve it if we have on the other side a Sadat. You know, we got Sadat; we made peace. We got the late King Hussein; we made peace. I'll never forget how he came to the Wye River conference from his death bed and he moved me to tears. We can make peace.
Now Mr. Abbas has to decide -- Abu Mazen, the head of the Palestinian Authority -- "Are you an Arafat or are you a Sadat? If you're a Sadat, I will make peace with you."
LAUER: Real quickly -- I want to end, and I'm sorry to cut short the time, but on Iran. You said that Iran is weaker than people think. You are convinced they are attempting to build nuclear weapons and you've said tougher sanctions are a way to prevent that. China and Russia have never been on board with those tougher sanctions.
The president tried yesterday to talk to the Chinese about that. It's unclear if he made any progress. Absent China and Russia joining that move for tougher sanctions, if they continue to move down the road, Iran, and develop nuclear weapons, in your opinion, at what point do you go it alone? At what point do you strike?
PM NETANYAHU: I will say, Matt, that I don't deal in hypotheticals. Every country reserves the right to defend itself, and we're no exception. But Iran's acquisition or development of nuclear weapons is a threat to everyone. I mean, it's the major terror- sponsoring state of our time, and it could give those nuclear weapons to terrorists or give them a nuclear umbrella, which will bring terrorism beyond our wildest dreams to levels that are unimaginable.
We just had a scare here in Manhattan. Just imagine terrorists with nuclear bombs. It makes this development so dangerous that it should not be merely Israel, but the entire world that unites to prevent this outcome.
And let me say one thing. I don't know if they'll pass it through the U.N., through the Security Council, but this is the time to act with what Hillary Clinton called crippling sanctions. And the Iranian regime is vulnerable. It's economically vulnerable. It's politically extremely vulnerable for a simple reason. The Iranian people hate it. They detest this medieval backward regime that is gunning them down, you know, (as they like ?), choking in their blood on the sidewalks protesting for freedom.
This is the time to apply pressure against this criminal regime. And even if the U.N. Security Council can't get its act together, the leading powers of the day can put enormous pressure on Iran, especially when it comes to imported petroleum products, what we call in simple language gasoline.
LAUER: Mr. Prime Minister, it's good to have you in the studio. Good luck this week at the U.N.
PM NETANYAHU: Thank you, Matt. Good morning.
LAUER: A pleasure to see you.

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Report: Vatican knew about Holocaust Denying bishop Williamson when he was reinstated

We sort of knew this already, didn't we? But it is so sad, that we didn't want to admit it.
Swedish TV: Vatican Knew About Holocaust-Denier
Swedish TV says Vatican knew about Holocaust-denying bishop when ex-communication lifted
The Associated Press

A Swedish TV program to be aired Wednesday claims that top Vatican officials knew that an ultraconservative British bishop was a Holocaust-denier when his excommunication was lifted in January.
The program, which was obtained by The Associated Press prior to broadcast, could add new fuel to the controversy over Bishop Richard Williamson.
Jews and Catholics worldwide were outraged after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of Williamson, along with three other ultraconservative bishops, in an attempt to bring dissidents back into the mainstream church.
The order, dated Jan. 21, came as Sweden's SVT aired an interview recorded two months earlier in which Williamson said he didn't believe any Jews were killed in gas chambers during World War II.
Vatican officials have said they didn't know about the interview at the time. Benedict later condemned Williamson's remarks and spoke out against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
Yet in a follow-up report, SVT says the Vatican had been informed of Williamson's Holocaust-denial shortly after the interview was recorded in November. It doesn't suggest, however, that the pope knew about the remarks.
The program singles out Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who had been leading efforts to heal the schism with the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X. The Vatican announced in July that Castrillon Hoyos was stepping down after reaching the customary retirement age of 80.
The SVT program says Sweden's Catholic diocese informed the apostolic nuncio — the Vatican envoy to Sweden — about Williamson's remarks and that he in turn informed Vatican officials, including Castrillon Hoyos.
"Naturally we passed all the information that we had on to the nuncio. After that I don't really know how it moved along," Stockholm Bishop Anders Arborelius told SVT.
In a statement Wednesday, the diocese reiterated that it had sent a report about the content of interview to the Vatican in November 2008.
The SVT program says the Vatican envoy, Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, confirmed off-camera that he contacted several people in the Vatican, including Castrillon Hoyos, immediately after receiving the report in November.
Tscherrig did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday.
In a statement commenting on the program, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said it was "absolutely without foundation to claim or even insinuate that the pope was informed in advance of Williamson's positions."
"The pope has explained the reason for the remission of the excommunication as a gesture in favor of church unity and at the same time showed the total groundlessness of the accusations that he (the pope) showed a lack of respect for the Jewish people," Lombardi said.
The statement didn't address whether other Vatican officials knew about Williamson's remarks.
Castrillon Hoyos said in a newspaper interview Jan. 29 that no one at the Vatican knew about Williamson's views until after the decree had been signed.
"We absolutely didn't know anything about this Williamson," he told the Corriere della Sera.
Castrillon Hoyos had been head of the Pontifical "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, which was charged with reconciling with the Society of St. Pius X. In announcing his retirement on July 8, the Vatican said that effort would now be headed by Cardinal William Levada, the highest-ranking U.S. churchman in the Vatican hierarchy.
Levada heads the Vatican's powerful orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict headed for decades before becoming pope in 2005.
"(The pope) recognized with candor the limits of internal and external Vatican communication, and gave a new status to the Ecclesia Dei Commission, just to guarantee a better and safer way in dealing with matters relating to relations with traditionalists," Lombardi said in the statement Wednesday.
"To relaunch the 'Williamson case' can only serve to continue to create confusion for no reason," he said.
In last year's Swedish interview, Williamson denied that 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis. He said about 200,000 or 300,000 were murdered and none were gassed.
Williamson later apologized for his remarks, saying he would never have made them if he had known "the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise." But he did not say his comments had been erroneous, nor that he no longer believed them.

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Farcical UN circus brings Gaddafi in a tent, but US town bans it

What is needed is for a group like ISM to go to this town and stop the demolition of Gaddafi's tent. 

US officials have ordered workers to stop the construction of a tent for Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi near New York, a local attorney says.
The erection of the tent "violated several codes and laws of the town of Bedford", attorney Joel Sachs says.
It also emerged the Bedouin-style tent was being set up on property rented from real estate mogul Donald Trump.
Col Gaddafi had reportedly planned to use the tent for entertaining during the UN General Assembly in New York.
Libyan officials have so far not publicly commented on the issue.
Col Gaddafi - who arrived in New York on Tuesday - traditionally shuns official residences during his trips abroad.
Trump's statement
Bedford town attorney Joel Sachs said officials had given "a stop work" order to teams pitching Col Gaddafi's tent in the town, about 30 miles (48km) north of New York.
There is no such thing as diplomatic immunity when it comes to complying with local laws
But he said the workers did not speak English and the order was then issued to the property caretaker.
"There is no such thing as diplomatic immunity when it comes to complying with local laws and ordinances," Mr Sachs was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
"This is a private piece of property and they have to comply with the laws of this municipality."
Mr Sachs said the authorities in Bedford had learned of Col Gaddafi's plans from the US secret service.
Col Gaddafi is due to make his first visit to the UN General Assembly
Meanwhile, Mr Trump said in a statement that part of the estate "was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners, who may or may not have a relationship to Mr Gaddafi".
"We are looking into the matter," the statement added.
Last week, Libyan officials agreed not to pitch Col Gaddafi's tent in the grounds of a Libyan-owned property in the New Jersey town of Englewood because of opposition from local residents.
They protested against the warm welcome given in Libya to the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, following his release from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.
Dozens of families in New Jersey lost loved ones when Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Scotland.

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Obama, Bibi and Abbas at the Summit of the absurd

Another drama in the aimless "peace" process has been enacted...

The summit of the absurd: Middle East process without peace


Eugene Ionescu or Samuel Becket could have written a play called "The Middle East Peace Process." Yesterday, in the Yet Another Middle East Summit that took place at the UN, we witnessed another scene in that play. Vladimir, Estragon and Godot himself appeared on the stage, said the same old things, provided the usual photo op, and departed to polite applause.

Over and over we hear the same pronouncements about the urgency of peace, about the final status agreement that is within reach, about the confidence building measures, about the need to compromise and make painful sacrifices, about the willingness to take risks for peace. We see the same photos of handshakes, tableaux that are repeated without end. The play has been running so long that all the actors have changed. Vladimir is played by Benjamin Netanyahu replaced Ehud Olmert, who replaced Ariel Sharon, who replaced Ehud Barak, who replaced Benjamin Netanyahu in his first appearance, who replaced Shimon Peres, who replaced the original Yitzhak Rabin, Estragon is ably portrayed by Mahmoud Abbas in place of Yasser Arafat, and Barack Obama replaced George Bush the Second, who replaced Bill Clinton, who replaced George Bush the First. Life, after all, must go on.

The essence of this postmodernist drama is that there is really no metanarrative. There is no plot. There is no progress, because there is nothing to progress towards. It is pointless diplomatic Dadaism. It cannot progress because of the "Human Condition" or in this case, the condition of the Middle East.

Continued here:

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Jerusalem Miqveh: Proof of ancient Jewish habitation

According to Israel Antiquities Authority, a large and impressive ritual bath (miqve) from the end of the Second Temple period was recently uncovered in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out in the Western Wall tunnels, in cooperation with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.If it can be definitely established that this was a Jewish structure, the finding has political significance, as Palestinians continue to insist that Jews did not inhabit Jerusalem in ancient times.
The miqve was discovered inside the western hall of a splendid structure that is located just c. 20 meters from the Western Wall. Parts of the building were discovered in the past and the Israel Antiquities Authority is currently exposing another one of the three halls inside it. It is one of the most magnificent structures from the Second Temple period ever to be uncovered.
The edifice is built of very delicately dressed ashlar stones and the architectural decoration in it is of the highest quality. From an architectural and artistic standpoint there are similarities between this structure and the three magnificent compounds that King Herod built on the Temple Mount, in the Cave of the Patriarchs and at Allonei Mamre, and from which we can conclude the great significance that this building had in the Second Temple period.
In his book The War of the Jews, Josephus Flavius writes there was a government administrative center that was situated at the foot of the Temple. Among the buildings he points out in this region were the council house and the "Xistus"- the ashlar bureau. According to the Talmud it was in this bureau that the Sanhedrin – the Jewish high court at the time of the Second Temple – would convene. It may be that the superb structure the Israel Antiquities Authority is presently uncovering belonged to one of these two buildings.
According to archaeologist Alexander Onn, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "It is interesting to see that in the middle of the first century CE they began making changes in this magnificent structure – at that time it was no longer used as a government administrative building and a large miqve was installed inside its western hall where there were c. 11 steps that descend to the immersion pool. It seems that the city of Jerusalem grew in this period and it became necessary to provide for the increased ritual bathing needs of the pilgrims who came to the Temple in large numbers, especially during the three pilgrimage festivals (Shlosha Regalim). Immersing oneself in the miqve and maintaining ritual purity were an inseparable part of the Jewish way of life in this period, and miqve'ot were absolutely essential, especially in the region of the Temple."
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation acts to uncover the Jewish people's past at the Western Wall, and the miqve is further evidence of the deep ties the Jewish people have with Jerusalem and the Temple.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi in charge of the Western Wall and the holy places, pointed out the cooperation between the Western Wall Heritage Foundation and the Israel Antiquities Authority which have joined together in order to discover the rich history of Jerusalem there, while strictly ensuring that no excavations approach the Temple Mount compound, contact with which is forbidden by Halachic law. 
Journalists who are interested in photographing the miqve may do so today (Wednesday) at 11:50 AM in the Western Wall tunnels. In order to obtain permission to photograph inside the compound it is necessary to update the Israel Antiquities Authority spokesperson ( with the film crew's details – including fax number, no later than 10:45 AM.
For further information, kindly contact Yoli Shwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority Spokesperson, 972-52-5991888,


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Hotel Babi Yar - Ukrainians to dance on the graves of Jews?

Those who think the bad old days of European Anti-Semitism are passed, should think again. Babi Yar was the site of the brutal massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in the Ukraine in 1941. The Nazi invaders could not have done it without the willing help of locals. Of course, the Ukrainians had already done their share in the murder of about 200,000 Jews in the Pogroms of the Russian Civil War. Ukrainians have steadily denied their role in these massacres and are anxious to cover up the traces. Now there is a popular plan to turn the site of Babi Yar into a resort area with hotels. To be sure, there are some decent people who are opposed.
Ami Isseroff
The opening line from Yevgeny Yevtushenko's most famous poem, "Babi Yar" - "No monument stands over Babi Yar" - may once again be an accurate reflection of reality if Kiev's municipality carries out its plan to build a hotel on the memorial site of one of the most notorious massacres of Jews during the Holocaust.
On September 29 and 30, 1941, German SS troops, supported by other German units and local collaborators, gathered 33,771 Jewish civilians at the ravine outside Kiev and murdered them with machine guns.
Attempts to commemorate the massacre after the war were thwarted by the Soviet Union.
Yevtushenko, a Russian poet, novelist, essayist, dramatist and film director born July 18, 1933, was politically active during the Khrushchev Thaw. He wrote what would become perhaps his most famous poem, "Babi Yar," in 1961.
Noting the absence of a memorial in Babi Yar, the poem denounces the Soviet distortion of history concerning the Nazi massacre of Kiev's Jews as well as anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.
Soccer tourism
After the Soviet Union's collapse, Ukraine set up a monument on the site.
Last week, however, the Kiev municipality approved a plan to build 28 hotels to accommodate the tens of thousands of visitors expected for soccer's 2012 European Championships. One of these hotels is planned to be set up on the Babi Yar site, now in a residential area of Kiev.
Kiev Mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi has reportedly been interested in turning his city's remaining green space into real estate and is taking advantage of Euro 2012 to implement his plan, city sources said.
City councilman Sergei Melnik, one of the many who oppose the plan, on Tuesday leaked the details to the media.

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Egyptian book burner candidate Hosni defeated in bid to run UNESCO

In an unexpected and possibly accidental show of sanity, the United Nations has rejected the bid of Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni to be director of UNESCO. Hosni had threatened  in the Egyptian parliament last year to personally burn any Israeli book he found in Egypt's famed Library of Alexandria. Though book burning is not necessiarly the best qualification for a director of of a culture and education agency, in the crazy world of the UN, this remark propelled Hosni to the front rank of candidates.
However, at the last minute, in a fit of uncharacteristic rationality, Hosni's bid was defeated by the election of Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, who speaks several languages and does not advocate book burning. Both of these accomplishments should have disqualified her from running a UN cultural agency, but she managed to eke out a victory with difficulty, no doubt with the help of the international Zionist conspiracy.  There were allegations of fraud, as well their might be, considering the unprecedent rationality of the result. The upset victory did not come easily, as a book burner is a strong contender to direct cultural affairs. It required five ballots before Hosni was finally defeated. No doubt, the Egyptians will fume at the machinations of the Zionists, who are evil people opposed to book burning.
The AP storty below gives the details.
Ami Isseroff
A career diplomat from Bulgaria won a suspenseful and drawn-out race to lead the UN agency for culture and education on Tuesday, beating out an Egyptian candidate whose one-time threat to burn Israeli books had galvanized opposition.
In a fifth round of secret balloting Tuesday, Bulgaria's ambassador to France, Irina Bokova, defeated Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni for the leadership of UNESCO. The vote was 31 to 27, the organization's media office said.
Bokova, 57, will become UNESCO's first woman director general and the first from the former Soviet bloc. She was her country's foreign minister for a brief period in 1996-1997, and also helped negotiate Bulgaria's entry into the European Union and NATO. Her four-year term will begin November 15.
The race was tight and closely watched, with a flurry of secretive diplomatic efforts between each round, allegations of fraud and an uproar over Hosni's candidacy. Critics raised Egypt's contentious record of cultural censorship and accused him of being anti-Israel.

Bokova and Hosni tied on Monday night – and if Tuesday's vote had also been a draw, officials were prepared to pick a name at random from a bag.
The winner immediately sought to restore unity after the divisive race, speaking of her "respect and friendship" for Hosni and praising his campaign ideas. For months, Hosni had been considered the favorite.
"I never believed in the idea of a clash of civilizations," Bokova said, adding that her leadership of UNESCO would be geared at mutual understanding and cultural dialogue.
"UNESCO is about tolerance," she said.

Israeli congratulations
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy congratulated Bokova following her election, saying "Israel is convinced its fertile cooperation with UNESCO will continue and will even be extended and deepened."
Suspicions of fraud rose as the unexpectedly intense race unfolded at the agency's Paris headquarters.
A UNESCO delegate told The Associated Press that at least one person was ejected from the agency's building by UNESCO security staff for trying to bribe delegates on Monday. The official said several UNESCO member states had complained to the director general about the bribery attempts.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the eviction had been reported by senior members of UNESCO's administration.
Elizabeth Longworth, executive director of the office of UNESCO's director general, refused to discuss the issue on the telephone, saying she was too busy.
A UNESCO spokeswoman denied there was hard evidence of bribery. "There have been rumors to that effect," but no formal complaint has surfaced, said spokeswoman Sue Williams.
She said reports that someone was ejected Monday for unethical behavior had been investigated and found to be groundless. The agency disclosed no further details and UNESCO security service refused to discuss the issue.
The outcry against Hosni focused on his threat in the Egyptian parliament last year to personally burn any Israeli book he found in Egypt's famed Library of Alexandria. Hosni, a painter who has been Egypt's culture minister for more than two decades, made the comment in an attempt to defend himself against charges by Egyptian lawmakers of being soft on Israel.
He later apologized for the remark, saying it was spontaneous and a manifestation of his anger at Palestinian suffering. But critics kept up the pressure, accusing him of several anti-Semitic comments over the years.
Bokova gained ground at the last minute as other candidates dropped out, partly because of efforts to find a strong challenger to Hosni.

Bokova speaks fluent English, Russian, Spanish and French. Her father was a Communist Party official who was editor-in-chief of the party newspaper. She joined the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry's UN and disarmament department in 1976, and witnessed Bulgaria's transformation from an Eastern bloc nation to an EU member.
Her win must be validated at the UNESCO general conference planned for October 15, the organization's media office said. She is to replace current leader Koichiro Matsuura of Japan on November 15.
Roee Nahmias contributed to this report

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What happened at the summit?

After the much awaited trilateral Israel-Palestinian-US summit, President Obama, to all appearances, can make an appearance on a US aircraft carrier and say either "Mission Accomplished" or "Nothing Accomplished." The mission of getting a meeting to happen was accomplished, but as one could easily predict, the meeting accomplished nothing. It was meaningless. It symbolizes the entire direction of US policy toward the peace process, which is directed at getting negotiations started, but cannot relate those negotiations to any reality.
It is unclear what the US hopes to accomplish from these meetings. Supposing that Israeli PM Netanyahu agrees to freeze settlement construction for a reasonable period, will Mahmoud Abbas agree to give up right of return? Can the United States or anyone end Hamas control of the Gaza strip? Aluf Benn notes in Haaretz:
Obama explained that the resolution of the Middle East conflict is in the U.S.'s interest and that a permanent solution is a priority for the entire world. The American president compensated for having failed to immediately revive peace talks with stern remarks directed at both sides: forget history, obstacles and disagreements - sit down and get done with it.
Well OK, we knew all that. Benn also noted strange differences between Obama's style and that of George Bush:
The Bush administration put an emphasis on synchronizing statements and agreements between the two sides. As soon as the summits were over, the Israelis and Palestinians were sent on their way to hold talks on their own - with American supervisors. 
However, Obama does it differently. He read his statement as a command directed at the two sides, and not as a joint statement. The president is planning to lead active American mediation efforts, spearheaded by his Middle East envoy George Mitchell. The envoy's first task will be relaunching the peace talks.
This is the president who was supposed to rule by conciliation and mediation - but he issues commands. His commands, however, are like King Canute trying to stop the tide. 
Aaron Miller, a former negotiator, noted astutely:
"The problem with the Obama administration policy is not the man, Obama or Mitchell; it's the mandate," Mr. Miller said. "It should be clear to all but the eternally obtuse that a conflict-ending agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu and a divided Palestinian national movement is probably out of reach. The question then becomes what is the connection between trying to get the Arabs to do partial steps for normalization and the Israelis to do a partial settlement freeze and the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement?"
Or to put it more simply, "What is Obama trying to accomplish?"
Ami Isseroff

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Iran announces new improved nuclear centrifuges

This is surely real good news, right?
TEHRAN, (Reuters) - Iran has built a new generation of centrifuges for enriching uranium and is testing them, the official news agency IRNA quoted its nuclear energy agency chief as saying on Tuesday.
"Iranian scientists have made a new generation of centrifuges that are currently undergoing necessary tests," Ali Akbar Salehi told a Tehran news conference as reported by IRNA.
"Chains of 10 centrifuges are now under test," he said, and the number in each chain "will be gradually increased."
Salehi did not say when the new model of centrifuge would be introduced to the production line in its Natanz enrichment plant but said it was stronger and faster than those now in operation.
Iran says it is enriching uranium only to low levels suitable for electricity generation and is committed to non-proliferation safeguards maintained by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
United States and some Western countries suspect Iran has a secret project to fuel atomic bombs with highly enriched uranium, something the Islamic Republic has repeatedly denied.
A senior diplomat close to the IAEA said there appeared to little new in Salehi's announcement. The IAEA has reported Iran testing advanced models of centrifuges for more than two years but found no sign of them being phased into production lines.
An Aug. 28 IAEA report said Iran had actually somewhat reduced the number of older-model P-1 centrifuges enriching uranium in a step diplomats said appeared to be related to needed repair and maintenance work. But the report said Iran had raised the number of installed, although not yet all running, centrifuges to more than 8,300, boosting its potential nuclear fuel production capacity.
World powers base their assessment of possible proliferation risk posed by Iran on the number of centrifuges installed.
The U.N. Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its enrichment activities because of unresolved concerns about its nuclear ambitions, but Tehran has refused.
Iran is due to hold talks on Oct. 1 with six world powers.

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Israel and the Trouble With International Law

Israel and the Trouble With International Law

Many restrictions on the use of force against aggressors make no moral sense.

Last week the United Nations issued a report painting the Israelis as major violators of international law in the three-week Gaza war that began in December 2008. While many find the conclusion a bit unsettling or even bizarre, the report's conclusion may be largely correct.
This says more about international law, however, than it does about the propriety of Israel's conduct. The rules of international law governing the use of force by victims of aggression are embarrassingly unjust and would never be tolerated by any domestic criminal law system. They give the advantage to unlawful aggressors and thereby undermine international justice, security and stability.
Article 51 of the U.N. Charter forbids all use of force except that for "self-defense if an armed attack occurs." Thus the United Kingdom's 1946 removal of sea mines that struck ships in the Strait of Corfu was held to be an illegal use of force by the International Court of Justice, even though Albania had refused to remove its mines from this much used international waterway. Israel's raid on Uganda's Entebbe Airport in 1976—to rescue the victims of an airplane hijacking by Palestinian terrorists—was also illegal under Article 51.
Domestic criminal law restricts the use of defensive force in large part because the law prefers that police be called, when possible, to do the defending. Force is authorized primarily to keep defenders safe until law enforcement officers arrive. Since there are no international police to call, the rules of international law should allow broader use of force by victims of aggression. But the rules are actually narrower.
Imagine that a local drug gang plans to rob your store and kill your security guards. There are no police, so the gang openly prepares its attack in the parking lot across the street, waiting only for the cover of darkness to increase its tactical advantage. If its intentions are clear, must you wait until the time the gang picks as being most advantageous to it?
American criminal law does not require that you wait. It allows force if it is "immediately necessary" (as stated in the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code, on which all states model their own codes), even if the attack is not yet imminent. Yet international law does require that you wait. Thus, in the 1967 Six Day War, Israel's use of force against Egypt, Syria and Jordan—neighbors that were preparing an attack to destroy it—was illegal under the U.N. Charter's Article 51, which forbids any use of force until the attack actually "occurs."
Now imagine that your next-door neighbor allows his house to be used by thugs who regularly attack your family. In the absence of a police force able or willing to intervene, it would be quite odd to forbid you to use force against the thugs in their sanctuary or against the sanctuary-giving neighbor.
Yet that is what international law does. From 1979-1981 the Sandinista government of Nicaragua unlawfully supplied arms and safe haven to insurgents seeking to overthrow the government of El Salvador. Yet El Salvador had no right under international law to use any force to end Nicaragua's violations of its sovereignty. The U.S. removal of the Taliban from Afghanistan in 2001 was similarly illegal under the U.N. Charter (although it earned broad international support).
An aggressor pressing a series of attacks is protected by international law in between attacks, and it can take comfort that the law allows force only against its raiders, not their support elements. In 1987, beginning with a missile strike on a Kuwaiti tanker, the Iranians launched attacks on shipping that were staged from their offshore oil platforms in the Persian Gulf. While it was difficult to catch the raiding parties in the act (note the current difficulty in defending shipping against the Somali pirates), the oil platforms used to stage the attacks could be and were attacked by the U.S. Yet these strikes were held illegal by the International Court of Justice.
Social science has increasingly shown that law's ability to gain compliance is in large measure a product of its credibility and legitimacy with its public. A law seen as unjust promotes resistance, undermines compliance, and loses its power to harness the powerful forces of social influence, stigmatization and condemnation.
Because international law has no enforcement mechanism, it is almost wholly dependent upon moral authority to gain compliance. Yet the reputation international law will increasingly earn from its rules on the use of defensive force is one of moral deafness.
True, it will not always be the best course for a victim of unlawful aggression to use force to defend or deter. Sometimes the smart course is no response or a merely symbolic one. But every state ought to have the lawful choice to do what is necessary to protect itself from aggression.
Rational people must share the dream of a world at peace. Thus the U.N. Charter's severe restrictions on use of force might be understandable—if only one could stop all use of force by creating a rule against it. Since that's not possible, the U.N. rule is dangerously naive. By creating what amount to "aggressors' rights," the restrictions on self-defense undermine justice and promote unlawful aggression. This erodes the moral authority of international law and makes less likely a future in which nations will turn to it, rather than to force.
Mr. Robinson, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, is the co-author of "Law Without Justice: Why Criminal Law Does Not Give People What They Deserve" (Oxford, 2006).

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Russians spoke too soon: Israel Military option against Iran is still on the table

It was obvious that the Russian announcement of an Israeli guarantee not to attack Iran under any circumstances was premature and unauthorized. The impression was corrected by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon

Ayalon told the Reuters news agency that Medvedev's statement did not guarantee Israel would not attack Iran's nuclear facilities, should the international diplomatic push to stymie its nuclear aspirations prove futile.

"It is certainly not a guarantee. I don't think that, with all due respect, the Russian president is authorized to speak for Israel and certainly we have not taken any option off the table."

In a transcript of the interview with Medvedev released by the Kremlin on Sunday, The Russian president hedged on the question of whether Russia would support Iran if it were attacked by Israel.

Although Russia has no defense agreement with Iran "this does not mean we would like to be or will be indifferent to such an occurrence... But my Israeli colleagues told me they were not planning to act in this way, and I trust them," Medvedev said.

According to Reuters, President Shimon Peres made the pledge to Medvedev during a meeting in the Russian resort of Sochi in August.

"When he visited me in Sochi, Israeli President Peres said something important for us all: 'Israel does not plan to launch any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country and we will not do this'," Medvedev said.

Israel does not have a concrete plan to attack Iran, that is true, and certainly would not attack Iran without provocation. Iran claims they have no plans to develop nuclear weapons, so in theory of course there is no problem. Likewise, Russia assures the world that Iran has no intentions of developing nuclear weapons.  But what if Iran is not telling the truth, and Israel discovers definite proof that Iran is developing nuclear weapons? Wouldn't that change things quite a bit?

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Ahmadinejad: Proud of Holocaust Denial

The irrepressible Mahmoud Amadinejad (what would we do without him?) emphasized that he is proud of his Holocaust denial:
Iran's state news agency quotes President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying he is proud the West was outraged denial of the Holocaust.
The Monday report by IRNA quotes Ahmadinejad as saying that angering the world's "professional man slayers" — an apparent reference to Israel and some in the West — is a source of "pride for us."
Engage that, J Street. Don't you wish you could do something drastic to this guy and say "Yippee Kai yay MF?"

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Hamas is still there - Makes peace impossible

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Prime Minister, told it like it is, and warned everyone who has delusions of peace:
In a sermon for the Eid el-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told Gazans congregating in a stadium in Gaza City that "no one has the right to give up on Jerusalem or the [Palestinian] refugees. Not the PLO and no any other factor can sign an agreement hurting the Palestinian people's principles and rights. Any agreement reached will not be respected by our people."
Hamas can be depended upon to back their words with bombs.

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Israel's ubreakable bond with US just got broke

Former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has issued what he considers friendly advice to Israel: He urged US President Barack Obama to make it clear that if the IAF tries to launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities via Iraqi airspace, the US Air Force will shoot down the Israeli jets.

"We are not exactly impotent little babies," Brzezinski told The Daily Beast in an interview published Sunday. "They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? ... We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren't just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a 'Liberty' in reverse."

The USS Liberty was a US Navy technical research ship accidentally struck by the IAF on the fourth day of the Six Day War, after being misidentified as an Egyptian warship.

Brzezinski, who was former president Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, endorsed Barack Obama's presidential campaign. However, he has no role in the current administration.

So much for "unbreakable bonds" and "tough love." <g> I wonder what J street will have to say about that. One hopes that nobody in the Israeli government is stupid enough to respond to this stupid statement in kind. Brzezinski will be remembered as the fellow responsible for losing Iran in 1979.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sweden won't consider charges against newspaper over blood libel

Last update - 07:41 20/09/2009       
Report: Sweden won't probe paper over IDF organ harvesting article
By Haaretz Service
The Swedish Chancellor of Justice has decided not to launch an investigation into a newspaper that alleged that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian civilians in order to harvest their organs, Army Radio reported Saturday.
Swedish judicial authorities ruled that the report in the tabloid Aftonbladet did not constitute racism and was therefore legal, according to Army Radio. The ruling was in response to two requests submitted to the Swedish Chancellor of Justice, Army Radio said.
According to Swedish law, a publication may be considered illegal if it is threatening or expresses contempt towards a person or group of people based on their race, ethnicity, or nationality.
The report sparked an outcry in Israel, where the article's author has been accused of disseminating "a blood libel" against the Jews. Much of the controversy was due to the article's attempts to tie Jewish criminals who trafficked in organs in New Jersey to the alleged harvesting of Palestinian organs by Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
Earlier this month, meanwhile, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt canceled his visit to Israel, scheduled for September 11, in wake of the continued tension in relations between the two countries.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Obama Walks on water? Israeli-Palestinian-US Summit is on

On Friday, Palestinians were insisting this meeting would never happen:
Last update - 08:36 20/09/2009       
Obama to hold trilateral summit with Netanyahu, Abbas
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, and The Associated Press
U.S. President Barack Obama will host a meeting Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to lay the groundwork for renewed peace talks, the White House said Saturday.
The meeting comes at a time when U.S. peacemaking efforts were encountering strong resistance in the region, and after both Israeli and Palestinian officials had said such a summit was highly unlikely to take place.
The three-way meeting will take place immediately after Obama meets separately with each of the two leaders, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Saturday.
George Mitchell, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East, said it was another sign of Obama's commitment to comprehensive peace. The meetings will take place in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
No announcement is expected at the meeting of the three leaders, according to an administration official. But Obama scheduled the meeting to show his personal commitment to making progress, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the discussions.
Nir Hefetz, who heads the public relations desk in the Prime Minister's Office, said in response to the announcement that, "Prime Minister Netanyahu warmly accepts the invitation extended by the U.S. administration for a meeting with the U.S. president, and for a trilateral meeting with the president and with the president of the Palestinian Authority."
A senior Netanyahu aide added: "The meeting will be held without preconditions, as the prime minister had always wanted."
On Friday, the possibility of a three-way meeting had been in doubt because Mitchell failed to bridge wide gaps between Israelis and Palestinians.
Obama has set the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as a major goal of his young presidency, and dispatched Mitchell as a White House envoy to soften the ground on both sides.
Over four days, Mitchell met twice with Abbas and four times with Netanyahu, including twice on Friday before Mitchell left the Middle East.
The key disputes are over Israeli settlement expansion and whether peace talks should begin where they left off under Netanyahu's predecessors.
Israel has balked at a U.S. demand that it freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territory the Palestinians want for a future state. Under a U.S.-sponsored plan from 2003, Israel is required to freeze all such construction.

Continued (Permanent Link)

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