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December 31, 2010

MERF APPEARANCE

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 2pm EDT, 11AM Pacific, 9pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page
http://www.middleeastradioforum.org/

Attack

Abbas calls on int'l community for new peace talks plan
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
31/12/2010
During visit to Brazil, PA president says current process is "managing the conflict but not solving it."; Abbas sets cornerstone for Palestinian 'embassy' in Brasilia during ceremony.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community Friday to draft a new formula for peace talks with Israel and set aside the current process that he said is "managing the conflict but not solving it."

Abbas said in remarks broadcast Friday in the West Bank that the international community should step in to devise a new vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.


Abbas said the international community needs to "formulate a peace plan that is consistent with the international resolutions instead of continuing in a process that is managing the conflict but not solving it." Abbas was referring to resolutions for a two state solution — a Palestinian state next to Israel. He did he not elaborate on what a new formula might entail.

Abbas made his remarks from Brazil, where he set a cornerstone for a Palestinian embassy. The ceremony comes as Brazil, along with several other South American countries, recently recognized the yet-nonexistent state of Palestine.

As part of a new emphasis on winning international support for their cause, the Palestinians have drafted a proposal and are lobbying for a Security Council resolution that would declare West Bank settlements illegal and an "obstacle to peace."

The US has said it doesn't support the move, but it remains unclear if it will veto the measure or abstain should the draft come to a vote. Israel says it is an attempt by the Palestinians to avoid negotiations.

Speaking on Thursday to Palestinian expatriates and Arab ambassadors in Brasilia, Brazil, Abbas said the Palestinian draft used language similar to that used by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has criticized settlements.

"We drafted it using the same words that Secretary Clinton is using and so we don't see why the US would veto it," Abbas said.

Jews and all friends of Israel must go on the attack, or this move by the Palestinians has the potential to hurt Israel very badly.

Email the White House, State Department and Congress and demand that America state clearly and in a loud voice that a veto is what is waiting at the UN for this attempt to impose an out come designed by the Palestinians as the next step toward the destruction of Israel.

Israel must act by telling the whole world Judea and Samaria is ours now and forever, forget a PLO terror state in our land.

December 30, 2010

Sad and Happy Day


* Latest update 11:54 30.12.10

Former President Moshe Katsav guilty of rape and sexual assault
Judge deems Katsav's version of events was 'riddled with lies'; former president found guilty of all charges, except that he allegedly harassed a witness.
By Tomer Zarchin, Ofra Edelman, Haaretz Service and Reuters


Former President Moshe Katsav was found guilty of rape and sexual assault at Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday, as the judges ruled that his version of events was "riddled with lies."

The unanimous verdict was handed down more than four years after complaints surfaced of grave sexual offenses against various subordinates, during his terms as tourism minister and as president.

Katsav was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting A., a former employee at the Tourism Ministry. He was also convicted of sexually harassing H. from the President's Residence, of sexually abusing and harassing L. from the President's Residence and of obstruction of justice.

The 65-year-old former president was acquitted on only one charge - that he allegedly harassed a witness.

The year-long trial took place almost entirely behind closed doors, and left the public wondering whether Katsav made a wise move when he abruptly dropped out of an extremely lenient plea bargain two years ago.

The plea bargain meant that Katsav would not face the most serious charges and promised him a suspended sentence at worse, but the former president decided he wanted to prove his innocence in court.

As he read the verdict aloud Thursday, presiding judge George Karra said that by choosing to reject the plea bargain, Katzav had shuffled the deck, and not in his own favor.

Karra told the court that the long period of time that passed during the trial had led to new evidence arising, which supported A.'s claim and essentially discredited Katsav.

Katsav had tried to charm A., Karra determined, and when she did not respond to his overtures, he began to harass her. The defendant told the victim that he was in love with her, added Karra, and left her feeling humiliated.

"We accept A.'s version of events that the humiliation stemmed from a single reason, that she refused to accept the defendant's sexual advances," ruled the panel of judges.

"While the defense team called this a malicious plot born from A.'s desire to seek revenge against the accused for firing her, the prosecution produced a list of witnesses who testified to having heard A.'s remarks over the course of time between when the event occurred and when the case broke open," said Karra.

"These testimonies disqualify claims of slander," the judges ruled. "All of the testimonies based on what A. said contradict the defendant's claims that this was an invention born of emotion."

Katsav arrived at the court Thursday accompanied by his attorneys, Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir and Avraham Lavie. His wife, Gila, was not present. He had no comment for reporters as he left the court after the verdict, ashen-faced and still flanked by lawyers and bodyguards. He arrived back at his Kiryat Malachi home a short time later.

The verdict read out by the panel of three judges - Karra, Miriam Sokolov and Judith Shevach - was the first judicial statement on the veracity of allegations repeated, dissected and mulled over by the Israeli population and the media for the past four years.

After an initial attempt to have the reading of the verdict closed to the media, the main substance of the ruling was read in open court, but how much of the verdict was actually to be released for publication will be decided only after the state submits its position on the matter.

Out of concern for the complainants' privacy, much of the trial had taken place behind closed doors. Some commentators predict Katsav, should he appeal, will argue that the Tel Aviv District Court proceedings were not transparent enough. The former president may appeal to the Supreme Court to contest the verdict, and what could be a lengthy jail term.

The court did not immediately hand down a date for sentencing. Rape carries a minimum prison sentence of four years and a maximum of 16 years.

Any sentences handed down for the lesser charges would likely be served concurrently, according to Israel Radio analyst Moshe Negbi.

Though the scandal had forced Katsav's early retirement in disgrace, it had no impact on Israeli government functions, as the presidency is largely ceremonial.

But the allegations against the Iranian-born leader, whose rise from the slums once served as a shining example for disadvantaged Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, stirred deep emotions in Israel, where the head of state is supposed to be a beacon of morality and national unity.

Katsav had cast himself as the victim of extortion and an ethnically-motivated "witch hunt", and had vowed to clear his name.

He immigrated with his family to Israel in 1951. At age 24, he became the country's youngest mayor and went on to hold a number of cabinet posts as a member of the rightist Likud party.

Parliament elected him president in 2000 in an upset victory over Shimon Peres, Israel's Nobel Peace Prize-winning elder statesman. Peres succeeded Katsav as president after he curtailed his term due to the allegations against him.

This is both a sad day and a happy day.

It is a sad day to have the former President of the State of Israel convicted of rape.

It is a happy day to have the former President of the State of Israel convicted of rape, as it shws the rule of law still is in effect.

I hope he serves a long time in prison, as a ex cop I really hate rapist.

December 29, 2010

Raising fish in the desert


By David Shamah
December 26, 2010


With fewer fish in the sea with each passing year, Israel's Grow Fish Anywhere has found a way to grow them in the desert.
Fish ponds
Biological filters and specially developed bacteria treat the water the fish are growing in, without wasting anything.

"There's plenty of fish in the sea," the old saying goes - but that's not as true as it once was. In fact, says Dotan Bar-Noy, CEO of Israel's GFA (Grow Fish Anywhere) Advanced Systems, there are fewer fish in the sea with each passing year. "Overfishing is a much bigger problem than people realize, and in a few years, many species of salt water fish are simply going to disappear if something isn't done."

Bar-Noy and 30 or so others - mostly engineers, marine biologists and other technical folk - have found a solution to the diminishing numbers of fish in the sea. Based on the work of Israeli scientist Dr. Yossi Tal and Hebrew University professor Jaap van Rijn - inventor of the system - GFA has developed an on-land environment where fish can be raised, without having to exchange water or treat it chemically.

"We call this a zero-discharge system," Bar-Noy tells ISRAEL21c. "We use biological filters and specially developed bacteria to treat the water the fish are growing in, without wasting anything. The system can be set up to raise salt-water fish anywhere in the world - even in the desert, thousands of miles from the ocean," he asserts.

Fish farms are nothing new. They've been around for years, enabling growers to set up controlled environments that can ensure a specific yield of fish, allowing them to guarantee delivery without worrying about dwindling supplies in the ocean, pollution, inclement weather, and other factors that are hard to control.

Fish farm foibles

Still, while they enhance the conservation of fish in the sea, fish farms have problems of their own - mostly due to the need to circulate the water in the pools and tanks where the fish are raised. Most fish farms are located adjacent to a body of water, and their waste-laden water is channeled into the sea, and replaced with "fresh" sea water.

While fish raised in captivity don't produce an increased amount of waste, at sea it would be dissipated over a much wider area. The fish waste, with its nitrogen and other elements concentrated in a relatively small area, renders the water that it's dumped into uninhabitable for fish.

As the tanks are generally located near the shore, in relatively shallow water, the wastewater tends to linger there. With the movement of the currents, nearby jurisdictions are liable to find a considerable number of fish floating belly-up in their bays and harbors, having been poisoned by the high concentration of nitrogen and nutrients in the wastewater dumped from the tanks.
Fish ponds
GFA's New York purification plant opened in 2009 and is already supplying 100 tons of sea fish a year to the US market.

This problem is so serious that in some areas fish farms are banned, despite their being perhaps the only technologically feasible solution available to combat overfishing, says Bar-Noy. Alternative purification systems are based on electrical treatment systems which are expensive to install and run, and are not all that effective, he notes. "Even when they work, the electrical purification systems are too expensive, and fish produced with those systems will cost far more than fish from the sea."

GFA is currently the only solution that eliminates the environmental problems associated with fish farming. Tanks are filled with water, then with fish - and added to the mix are microbes perfected by GFA to treat the nitrogen and organic waste byproducts of fish production, in the tank.

Water is only added to replace that which evaporates, and the fish can grow through their natural cycle and remain in the tank until they are ready for market. "It's the most efficient fish growing system possible," claims Bar-Noy, "There is no pollution, and there is no need to fish at sea. Just set up tanks with GFA technology anywhere in the world, and harvest the fish when you're ready to go to market."

Toward eliminating world hunger

Because the GFA system uses cheap and easy-to-produce bacteria to cleanse fish tanks, the costs for raising the fish are fully competitive with those for raising fish from the sea, or other farms, Bar-Noy points out. And tank-raised fish are uniformly tasty. "Fish from the sea are subject to the natural weather cycles of cold and heat, while farmed fish can be raised at a constant, ideal temperature. GFA fish have an even greater advantage, since the water they grow in is always fresh, making the fish taste better than fish from other sources."

The system has already been set up in several locations in Israel, and the company runs a purification facility in upstate New York, which has been operating since 2009. The facility, the largest using GFA technology, produced about 100 tons of fish last year - mostly salt-water fish like sea bream, bass, tilapia, and others.

GFA is currently working on the third generation of its purification system. While the company was formed in 2008, its technology was developed over a 20-year period. "While the ideas were there for awhile, the only viable purification techniques were based on electrical devices. It was only with the rise of biotechnology techniques that we were able to develop the bacteria that enable us to do the purification cheaply," Bar-Noy explains.

The resulting system allows for high-capacity fish production - as much as 100 kg of fish per cubic meter of water (220 pounds of fish per 35 cubic feet) - along with the ability to grow fish in any environment. Fish farms can be set up anywhere - including in large cities, where fish may be brought to market the same day they're harvested, thus enabling growers to eliminate transportation time and costs.

After raising funds from several angels, GFA recently raised NIS 18 million (about $126,000) from Dutch private equity fund Linnaeus Capital Partners. The money will finance a number of projects, including expanding the New York facility and further refining the technology.

"As populations grow, more countries are looking to fish as sources of protein, but overfishing threatens to destroy that dream," says Bar-Noy. "With our system, fish can be grown anywhere - even in the desert - with minimal environmental impact. This is about more than just growing fish," he adds. "This could help feed millions."

Pea-sized telescope implant gives sight to elderly


By Abigail Klein Leichman
December 26, 2010


A new device from an Israeli company is the only solution for end-stage AMD, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly in developed countries.
Visioncare technology
VisionCare's implantable telescope technology is now being introduced to the US market in the near future, followed by the UK.

A tiny telescope implant developed in Israel to improve vision in patients with end-stage Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) made Popular Science magazine's annual list of 100 "Best of What's New" innovations this month.

Israel's VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies implantable pea-sized telescope received approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in July for use in a new trademarked patient care program, CentraSight, for patients with visual impairment in both eyes due to untreatable advanced AMD. This retina condition is the most common cause of blindness in the elderly in developed countries.

The first and only treatment for end-stage AMD, VisionCare's implant is the third-generation version of a device invented in the late 1990s by the company's Israeli founders, Dr. Isaac Lipshitz and Yossi Gross. The firm is headquartered in California and maintains an R&D, manufacturing and quality assurance facility in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv.

"This technology holds significant promise for improving vision and quality of life for individuals with end-stage AMD," Eli Aharoni tells ISRAEL21c. Aharoni is general manager and vice president of R&D, having joined VisionCare at its inception after heading up one of the Israel military industry's leading R&D centers. "The new device provides a practical solution to a common problem which currently has no other surgical alternative."

Pivotal FDA trial

Kathryn A. Colby, an ophthalmic surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston and assistant professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, calls the device "a breakthrough technology."

"The clinical results from the pivotal FDA trial have proven we can place this tiny telescope prosthesis inside the eye to help patients see better and, for some, even to levels at which they can recognize people and facial expressions that they could not before," says Colby.
Mini telescope
The tiny telescope implant developed by VisionCare to restore sight in sufferers of AMD is the size of a pea.

The miniature telescope is implanted in one eye, enlarging central vision images over a wide area of the AMD-damaged retina, while the non-operated eye provides peripheral vision for mobility and orientation. During rehab, patients are taught how to make the most of their new visual capabilities.

The implant is to be introduced in the United States as part of CentraSight's four-stage patient management process, Aharoni tells ISRAEL21c.

"First, the patient goes to a retina specialist for an examination and diagnosis. Then, a low-vision expert does an assessment to determine if the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. Implantation is performed as an outpatient procedure by a cornea or cataract surgeon, followed up with rehabilitation by optometrists and occupational therapists."

Gains in visual acuity and quality of life

VisionCare expects to start training its first teams of CentraSight caregivers in the United States in the near future, once final details are in place for medical insurance reimbursement for the costly procedure. Meanwhile, clinical trials have begun in the United Kingdom, the next likely potential market for the device.

Earlier results from the two clinical trials, conducted at 27 leading ophthalmic centers, were published in scientific journals including Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology, and Archives of Ophthalmology. The pivotal clinical trial shows that patients achieved clinically meaningful gains in visual acuity and quality of life with the telescope implant.

Popular Science chose the device as its winner in the health category of "Best of What's New" in its December 2010 issue after evaluating companies and products in 11 different categories to identify "innovations with potential to positively impact the future and push the envelope of what was not thought to be possible in the previous 12 months."

Allen W. Hill, CEO of the privately held VisionCare, notes that the advancement of the device from the drawing board to the operating room represents a joint effort among employees, clinical investigators and venture capital investors including Saints Capital, Pitango Venture Capital, Three Arch Partners, Onset Ventures, Infinity Private Equity, Shrem Fudim Group, Vintage Investment Partners and Dovrat.

December 28, 2010

PA daily: Israels aim is destruction and ruin of humanity

Dec. 28, 2010

PA daily demonizes Israel as
"a country whose aim
is destruction and ruin of humanity"
http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=4065

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

p:+972 2 625 4140 e: pmw@palwatch.org

f: +972 2 624 2803 w: www.palwatch.org

The PA continues to demonize and incite hatred of Israel. An article in the
official PA daily described Israel this way:

Israel is a country -

"whose aim is destruction and ruin of humanity"

"which disseminates destruction, ruin and weapons in the world"
"which acts to kill nations, to threaten them and to occupy their land"
"which acts to disseminate the culture of hatred and racism among human
beings"

This article appeared in the sports section of the official PA daily in an
article about Qatar being chosen as host of World Cup in 2022. Israel was
presented as the example of evil in the world in contrast to Qatar's
excellence.

The article also denied the legitimacy of Israel's existence when it labeled
the Israeli Carmel Mountains "the occupied Palestinian Carmel Mountains."

The following is an excerpt of the article in the sports section of Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida following Qatar's selection to host the 2022 World Cup:

Headline: "Great Qatar and small Israel"

"That night [of the announcement concerning Qatar] we followed the news. The
most prominent items on the news broadcasts were the selection of Qatar to
host the 2022 World Cup, and the fire that broke out in the occupied
Palestinian Carmel Mountains. The Arabs and Qataris are celebrating this
great human achievement, for which Qatar has been preparing itself for
years. It was the result of tremendous efforts which [our] sister, Qatar,
has invested.

In contrast, we followed the developments concerning the fire. Israel, which
used to pride itself on - and still boasts of - its power, is crumbling in
the face of the fire. A state of fear and confusion is washing over the
Israeli street, and loud voices at the top of the Zionist government are
calling to the world to intervene in extinguishing the fire. Israel - whose
preparations for destruction and war we hear about daily - is now unable to
protect
nature, which belongs to [all] mankind. This is a natural outcome for a
country whose aim is destruction and ruin of humanity.

That is the difference between a country (Qatar) that strives for progress
and for human development, and a country (Israel) which disseminates
destruction, ruin and weapons in the world; between a country which acts to
build a human generation, and a country which acts to kill nations, to
threaten them and to occupy their land; between a country which acts to
disseminate the culture of love and peace, and a country which acts to
disseminate the culture of hatred and racism among human beings."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 8, 2010]

Report: Hamas torturing 250 Eritreans in Egypt

NGO reports Eritreans traveling to Israel to seek asylum are being held captive by terrorist group in northern Sinai. 'Extortion, organ trafficking fund Hamas and al-Qaeda," EveryOne co-President Roberto Malini says
Menachem Gantz

The Italian-based organization sent an urgent plea to the Egyptian government last Thursday, claiming that the refugees, who were making their way to Israel to seek asylum, were captured by human traffickers.

The issue of illegal refugees infiltrating through the Egyptian border has been dominating the news in Israel in recent months, but it appears that many meet a dreadful fate even before reaching the Jewish state.

The humanitarian aid group reported that the refugees in question encountered Hamas operatives along the route, who promised to smuggle them into Israel for a payment of $2,000. Instead, they were placed in a detention facility on the outskirts of Rafah, an Egyptian town on the Gaza border, demanding their families in Eritrea pay a $10,000 ransom for their release.


'Refugees target of organ trafficking'

It was further noted in the statement that eight of the immigrants were killed, and four have gone missing – allegedly being the subject of human organ harvesting and trafficking. About 100 of them were transferred to a 'concentration camp' at an unknown location, perhaps in the Palestinian territories. The captives are beaten, the women and children raped.

"The prisoners eat poor food and are forced to drink their own urine," the statement reads. "Most of the migrants are contemplating suicide."

According to Roberto Malini, who heads EveryOne, the NGO is able to communicate with the Eritreans, some of whom arrived in Italy a few months ago but were sent back to Libya, where they were held for three months. During their stay in Italy they were given cell phones so that they can keep the humanitarian aid group updated along the journey. The captors let the prisoners use the phones to request money from their families.

The refugees were thus able to relate the poor conditions in which they were being held, and describe their location – a house located near a government building, surrounded by a fruit orchard – and even send photographs of the detention facility.


'Egypt took no action'

According to refugees who survived similar journeys and reached Israel, once the ransom is paid, the traffickers escort the prisoners to certain points along the border. Those who are unable to gather the funds will meet a bitter end.

EveryOne officials claim that despite their repeated efforts to inform the Egyptian authorities of the dire situation, no action has been taken to remedy it, primarily because terrorist groups are behind the atrocities.

"The authorities have still not carried out any inspections of the locations that have been pointed out to them (in the town of Rafah)," the statement reads. "The reason is quite clear… behind the crimes that serve to fund terrorism and to make huge profits for unscrupulous people is a criminal organization so powerful that it is able to challenge and defy governments: the Muslim Brotherhood (the organization Hamas belongs to) and al-Qaeda."

December 27, 2010

Rule Of Law

UK considers recognizing PA diplomats

London looking into possibility of upgrading Palestinian delegation to status of diplomatic mission. Israel fears move may lead to recognition of one-sided Palestinian statehood declaration
Yaniv Halily

LONDON – After several South American countries recognized an independent Palestinian state, Britain is now considering upgrading the Palestinian delegation in London to the status of a diplomatic mission.

The move, which would grant the Palestinian delegation with a status similar to that of an independent state, will turn the Palestinian delegates into diplomats for all intents and purposes.

Israel fears that the move may lead to a future British recognition of a one-sided Palestinian statehood declaration, following steps taken recently by Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Should the move be completed, Britain would not be the first European country to recognize the Palestinian delegation as a diplomatic mission, as France, Spain and Portugal have already done so.

Nonetheless, Jerusalem was surprised by the potential British act in light of the fact that the Conservative government is considered pro-Israel. The government has been making many efforts in recent months to repair the relations between the two countries, which have been damaged in the past few years.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague even told Yedioth Ahronoth several weeks ago that the United Kingdom prefers to have the Israeli-Palestinian conflict solved through negotiations, and refused to address the possibility of a unilateral Palestinian statehood declaration.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that it was looking into the possibility of upgrading the Palestinian delegation's status. An FCO spokesperson said the matter was being examined thoroughly.

As I stated on MERF we should look at what is going on in the Ivory Coast and we should worry. In the Ivory Coast the international community is attempting to circumvent the rule of law of a sovereign country.

I do not side of either candidate in the Ivory Coast, I am not Ivorian and as a result do not have a right to take a side in this. But I can call for the rule of law to be upheld.

I fear this may be a model for future relations involving Israel where the world may seek to militarily impose what they deem to be a correct solution to the problem of the Palestinians.

If I can see this trend in the international community you can bet so do the Palestinians. Israel needs to act while we are strong and incorporate Judea and Samaria into the State of Israel.

December 26, 2010

Israel responds to UN resolution on Combating racism and follow-up of the Durban Programme of Action


Israel regrets that a resolution on an important subject - elimination of
racism - has been diverted and politicized by the automatic majority at the
UN.

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson) 26.12.2010

The UN General Assembly has adopted on December 24th a resolution on
"Combating racism and follow-up of the Durban Programme of Action".

Israel is part of the international struggle against racism. The Jewish
people was itself a victim of racism throughout history.

Israel regrets that a resolution on an important subject - elimination of
racism - has been diverted and politicized by the automatic majority at the
UN, by linking it to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (2001)
that many states would prefer to forget. The Durban Conference of 2001, with
its antisemitic undertones and displays of hatred for Israel and the Jewish
World, left us with scars that will not heal quickly.

In the coming months, Israel will follow closely the preparations for the
upcoming September 2001 meeting. Israel expects the participants to deal
appropriately with the serious manifestations of racism throughout the
world, and to reject attempts to once again divert world attention from this
dangerous phenomenon by means of cheap politicization.

Under the present circumstances, as long as the meeting is defined as part
of the infamous "Durban process", Israel will not participate in the
meeting scheduled to take place in UN Headquarters in New York in September
2011.

December 24, 2010

MERF APPEARANCE

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 2pm EDT, 11AM Pacific, 9pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page
http://www.middleeastradioforum.org/

December 23, 2010

Ceremony honoring police officers returning from Haiti aid mission held at MFA


22 Dec 2010

FM Liberman, Minister of Public Security Aharonovitch and Vice Inspector
General Franco awarded certificates of appreciation to the police officers
who returned from the aid mission to Haiti

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)

At a ceremony held on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign
Affairs Avigdor Liberman, Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch
and Vice Inspector General Ilan Franco awarded certificates of appreciation
to the police officers who returned from the aid mission to Haiti.

FM Liberman told the officers that their mission contributed to Israel's
international standing and image more than any other conventional diplomatic
effort. The Minister also thanked the United Nations and the Italian
government and police force for their cooperation.

Minister of Public Security Aharonovitch told the police officers that he
was proud of their achievements, adding that members of all the branches of
the Police Force participated in the mission, which brought great credit to
Israel.

Major General Franco praised the cooperation with the MFA, and said that in
their efforts, the contingent brought respect to the Israel Police Force and
to the State of Israel.

UN representative Maxwell Gillard thanked the officers for their
contribution to the Haiti mission and expressed his appreciation of the
personal sacrifice of all members of the contingent.

The commander of the task force, Chief Superintendant Meir Namir, stated on
behalf of the contingent that "This was a mission of values," and all
members felt privileged to have been able to participate and "deliver the
goods" vis-à-vis the values of the State of Israel and the values and
professionalism of the Israel Police Force.

December 21, 2010

The (Hillary) Clinton Outline: A Fundamental Turning Point?
INSS Insight No. 234, December 20, 2010
Shalom, Zaki
http://www.inss.org.il/publications.php?cat=21&incat=&read=4694

In her December 10 speech at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton surveyed the current state of the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process in light of the administration’s failure
to renew direct talks between the two parties. This failure has led to
severe criticism of the Obama administration.

At the start of her address, Clinton made it clear that the administration
is not looking to arrive at a limited interim agreement between the sides;
rather, its sights are set on a full, comprehensive settlement that would
also include a set of understandings and arrangements with the greater Arab
world. The time has come, she stressed, to handle the core issues of the
conflict: borders (the top priority) and security, settlements, water,
refugees, and Jerusalem.

With the desire to portray a balanced stance and shirk the image of an
administration that is unsympathetic – perhaps even hostile – towards
Israel, Clinton used terms that appear to match Prime Minister Netanyahu's
positions and demands. At least twice she made it clear that the
administration’s goal is to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “once
and for all.” One senses that Clinton was trying to send Netanyahu a message
that she identifies with his stance, whereby a settlement must be “final”
and put an end to Palestinian demands of Israel.

The clarifications made by Secretary Clinton that the administration views
Israel as “the historic homeland of the Jewish people” also sent a message
of identification with Prime Minister’s Netanyahu’s demand that the
Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people and
the historic link of the Jewish people to the land of Israel.

The United States, said Clinton, is not satisfied with making only verbal
gestures towards Israel. During President Obama’s term in office, strategic
and security relations between the two nations have been expanded and
strengthened to an unprecedented degree. Moreover, "the United States will
always be there when Israel is threatened…America’s commitment to Israel’s
security and its future is rock solid and unwavering.”

An additional point referred to the need for comprehensive regional peace;
the Israeli-Palestinian settlement would be just one part of this broader
framework. In this context, she called on the nations of the region to give
the Arab peace initiative a broader and more concrete form. Almost
certainly, the meaning was to expand normalization with Israel.

After the preliminaries, Clinton got to the point: the need to advance the
peace process. She stressed that realizing the legitimate aspirations of the
Palestinians is not only in the best interests of the Palestinians but also
in the best interests of Israel and the United States. Referring indirectly
and critically to the theory of growth from the ground up advocated by Prime
Minister Netanyahu, she said: “While economic and institutional progress [in
the PA] is important, indeed necessary, it is not a substitute for a
political resolution.” In other words, anyone who thinks otherwise is taking
an erroneous and dangerous approach. The United States is committed to
realizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinians; the lack of progress in
this direction is unacceptable from the administration’s point of view.

In this context, Clinton stressed that the United States will also push the
parties to present their proposals and stances on the core issues without
delay and with appropriate details. The United States, she added, will not
be satisfied only with that. At the right opportunity and in the framework
of the discrete dialogue underway with each of the parties, the United
States will not hesitate to present its own bridging proposals.

And as if to clarify that this time the administration is more serious than
in the past and that it will no longer allow any foot-dragging, Clinton
began to lay out the administration’s positions on the core issues. The
first issue she chose to deal with – certainly not by chance – was the
border issue. Thereby, she sent a message to Israel that the administration
tends to accept the Palestinian position whereby it is necessary to begin by
discussing the borders rather than what Israel wants – to talk about
security arrangements.

Secretary Clinton went further still. She emphasized that the area between
the Jordan and the Mediterranean must be divided between the parties such
that each party would know which part belonged to whom. A clear, agreed-upon
border must exist between the two parties. At the same time, she sent an
explicit message of understanding of Israel’s security needs in light of
Israel’s bitter experience in its withdrawals from the Gaza Strip and
Lebanon. She stressed that the borders must “not leave Israel vulnerable.
Security arrangements must prevent any resurgence of terrorism.”

The question of Jerusalem, Clinton said, is most difficult and sensitive.
The parties must understand that not only they but also many believers
around the world take an interest in Jerusalem; their interests must also be
considered in the context of a settlement to be reached on this issue.
Herein perhaps lies more than a hint of the need for an international
arrangement over Jerusalem. In the past, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert already
proposed such an arrangement to the Palestinians. Secretary of State Clinton
was almost certainly referring to an arrangement of this sort.

Thus after tense anticipation on how the Obama administration intends to
jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the forward approach was
disclosed. The various assessments circulating that the bitter
disappointments that had befallen the Obama administration in the last two
years, damaging its prestige, and the difficult domestic issues it faces
would lead it to moderate its involvement in the peace process were highly
exaggerated. The administration is far from throwing up its hands in the
air. On the contrary, it has every intention of deepening its involvement in
reaching a settlement.

Hillary Clinton’s address – and even more so, its formulation and her body
language – lend little doubt that the Obama administration is losing its
patience with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Clinton’s speech sends
a clear message that the United States is determined to get to the point,
the sooner the better, and to formulate clear positions on the core issues,
leaving aside tactical and procedural issues. After failed attempts to bring
the parties to negotiate directly, the administration has reached the
conclusion that direct talks under the present circumstances will not lead
to practical, immediate results in the direction of a settlement. The United
States must assume responsibility for formulating positions and to bring
about their adoption by both parties. This is a clear change in the line of
action of the administration on the peace process.

Secretary Clinton made it unequivocally clear that the American
administration cannot impose a solution on the parties. Even if it could,
she said, it "would not, because it is only a negotiated agreement between
the parties that will be sustainable. The parties themselves have to want
it. The people of the region must decide to move beyond a past that cannot
change and embrace a future they can shape together." It is unlikely that
these soothing words, directed at Israel, will allay the concerns within
Israel’s leadership about an administration attempt to impose a settlement
on Israel based on the parameters of both Clintons' outline.

The main question of course is how the administration will translate this
determination into practice. Its obvious internal weakness – in light of the
economic crisis, Wikileaks, the failure in the Congressional elections, and
the upcoming presidential primaries – will undoubtedly make it difficult to
operate with the required determination to implement this outline.

The fact that the present outline was presented by the Secretary of State
may indicate that at least at this stage President Obama is seeking to avoid
being personally identified with a move whose chances of success are far
from certain. In the last two years President Obama has taken several hard
blows over his handling of the Israeli-Palestinian settlement. Another
failure, at a time when the race for the White House is starting, is liable
to damage his chances for reelection.

December 18, 2010

I am sorry that I have been traveling and have been unable to post. I will be able to post again G-D willing on Thursday

December 15, 2010

Hamas leader in Gaza vows group will never recognize Israel


At rally marking 23 years since founding of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh says
'Hamas will be the faithful guard of the Palestinian people's rights and the
basic Palestinian principles.'
By DPA Tags: Israel news Hamas Palestinians Published 15:52 14.12.10
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/hamas-leader-in-gaza-vows-group-will-never-recognize-israel-1.330593

Hamas will never recognize Israel, Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday
at a rally to mark the 23rd anniversary of the militant group's founding.

"We say it with confidence as we said it five years ago when we formed our
government, and we say it today: We will never recognize Israel," Haniyeh
told a crowd in Gaza City numbering tens of thousands.

A poster at the rally featured photographs of Hamas leaders assassinated by
Israel in the last 10 years.

"Hamas will be the faithful guard of the Palestinian people's rights and the
basic Palestinian principles," Haniyeh continued.

"We say today that there will be no occupation of the land of Palestine and
then we can say there is no future for the occupation on our land. I mean
from the sea to the river and from Rafah up to Naqoora."

The rally featured a scale model of Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque under a
slogan proclaiming that "We Remain Committed to the Covenant."

Hundreds of teenagers and children, wearing off-white uniforms and green
caps, marched through Gaza City, whilst Hamas officials handed out
chocolates and candy with a card saying it came from "Hamas with love."

Hamas leaders and activists spent around two weeks preparing for the rally.
Smaller gatherings were held all over the Gaza Strip last week.

"This year the rally is different from previous rallies. We want to send a
message to the world and to the Zionist enemy that Hamas movement is a
powerful Islamic Palestinian movement which can never be uprooted," a rally
organizer, who gave his name as Abu Hamza, said.

Hamas was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza on December 14, 1987,
several days after the first Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, broke out
against Israel.

Yassin was assassinated by Israel in March 2004.

In 2006 the movement participated in the Palestinian legislative elections
and emerged triumphant, defeating President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party,
which until then had been the natural party of Palestinian government.

The US and western countries placed Hamas under a diplomatic boycott because
of its refusal to renounce violence, honor past Israeli-Palestinian
agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.

Fierce internecine fighting in June 2007, between Hamas and Fatah in the
Gaza Strip, saw the Islamist movement rout security officials loyal to Abbas
and the Palestinian Authority and seize control of the territory, and cause
Gaza and the Fatah-run West Bank to be divided politically as well as
geographically.

Attempts to reconcile the two movements have so far failed.
A Hamas communique distributed at the rally stressed that "armed resistance
is a legal right for the Palestinian people and we will never abandon this
legal right until all our land and all our holy sites are liberated. We will
never recognize what is called Israel."

However, some Hamas leaders have said that while they will not recognize
Israel, they are prepared to accept a temporary solution based on
establishing an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by
Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital and without settlements.

December 13, 2010

'Erekat calls on EU to recognize a Palestinian state'


By JPOST.COM STAFF
13/12/2010
Ahead of EU foreign ministers' meeting, top Palestinian negotiator quoted as saying move would "provide protection for the principle of two states."

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Monday called for the EU to recognize a Palestinian state, according to an AFP report.

He said that such a move would "provide protection for the principle of two states as well as for the peace process."

Erekat's comments came in response to a statement to be issued by EU foreign ministers following a meeting in Brussels. The statement is expected to say that the “EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. This could include agreed territorial swaps. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. The EU calls for an agreed upon, just, fair and realistic solution to the refugee question.”

According to a draft copy of the statement obtained by The Jerusalem Post, the resolution states that the “council reiterates its readiness, when appropriate, to recognize a Palestinian state,” but stops well short of threatening to do so if one particular deadline or another is not met.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report

December 12, 2010

Poll of Israeli Arabs: 57% no compromise on right of return

Sunday, December 12, 2010


SABAN CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY
presents University of Maryland with Zogby International
2010
Israeli Arab/Palestinian Public Opinion Survey
Professor Shibley Telhami, Principal Investigator Anwar Sadat Chair for
Peace and Development and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Saban Center at
Brookings
Special thanks to the Carnegie Corporation of New York
Survey conducted October 20-November 3
Sample size: 600
Margin of error: +/- 4.0%
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2010/1209_israel_public_opinion_telhami/israeli_arab_powerpoint.pdf
...
ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT

Palestinian refugees’ right to return ‐
How do you feel about Palestinian refugees’ right to return?
Not too Important 11%
Important but a compromise should be found 28%
Important and cannot be compromised in any way 57%

Prospects of lasting peace

Which is closest to your view about the prospects of lasting peace between
Israel and the Palestinians?
In the next 5 yrs 8%
Inevitable, but it will take more time 25%
Don’t believe it will ever happen 63%

December 11, 2010

MERF APPEARANCE

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 2pm EDT, 11AM Pacific, 9pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page
http://www.middleeastradioforum.org/

December 10, 2010

PA Minister: Israel deliberately slow in saving Palestinian prisoners from forest fire

Bulletin
Dec. 7, 2010
http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=3858

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

p:+972 2 625 4140 e: pmw@palwatch.org

f: +972 2 624 2803 w: www.palwatch.org

On the day of the outbreak of the Carmel forest fire in northern Israel, 40
Israelis rushing to evacuate the prisoners in the Damon prison were burned
to death in the fire. After this was announced, the PA Deputy Minister of
Prisoners, Ziyad Abu Ein, accused Israel of not being concerned about saving
the lives of the Palestinian prisoners and being intentionally slow in
moving them away from the fire zone.

The following is the interview broadcast on PATV with Ziyad Abu Ein, PA
Deputy Minister of Prisoners' Affairs:

PA TV host: "Do you have information about the response speed of the Israeli
Prison Service in transferring the female prisoners from the Israeli prison,
or did they take their time and create a lag?"

Minister Abu Ein: "Yes, they created a lag and our [Palestinian] prisoners
were endangered. Had there not been Israeli criminals or Jewish prisoners in
this particular prison, it would have been even slower... If, Heaven forbid,
this fire had been in the Negev, Nafha or Be'er Sheva prisons (for
Palestinian security prisoners only, -ed.) there would have been an even
greater danger, but the presence of hundreds of Israeli prisoners in this
prison [Damon] spurred the ending [of the fire] and the evacuation of the
prisoners. But still it was very slow."

How dare they even think such things much less say them after 40 people lost their lives in an attempt to move the prisoners. But then again they believe Israel has trained sharks to attack tourist in the Sinai.

December 08, 2010

Syria to Iran: We won’t attack Israel in retaliatory strike


By YAAKOV KATZ
08/12/2010
Damascus claims Israeli jets will fly over Syria to bomb Islamic Regime; claims IAF drones already scouting out radar bases.

The Syrian leadership in Damascus told a senior Iranian delegation to Damascus last year that it would not assist Iran in retaliating to an Israeli strike against its nuclear facilities, according to an American diplomatic cable published on Wednesday by Wikileaks.

Written by the United States Embassy in Damascus, the cable dated Dec. 20, 2009, summed up the visits earlier that month of Iranian National Security Advisor Saeed Jalili, Vice President and head of the Environmental Department Mahammed-Javad Mahamadzideh and Defense Minister Ahmad Ali Vahidi to Damascus.

December 07, 2010

No deal on settlement freeze extension

American officials: US dropped construction moratorium demand, will continue peace efforts

Roni Sofer
Latest Update: 12.07.10, 23:57 / Israel News

America losing its patience: Almost a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked his ministers to approve a settlement freeze extension in exchange for a US benefit package, American officials are saying that efforts to extend the moratorium have failed.

Following the failure, American officials said that the US is mulling the possibility of resuming proximity talks between the sides. Meanwhile, Ynet learned that Israeli officials are looking into the possibility of offering another withdrawal to the Palestinians and handing over security powers to the Palestinian Authority.

Two US officials familiar with months of failed efforts to get Israel to reinstate a freeze on some new construction said Tuesday the administration has concluded that is not the best way to restart the stalled talks.

How about Israel loosing patience with American sticking it's nose in where it doesn't belong.

How about Israel telling America no more, keep your money and leave us alone.

But since we have cowards for leaders, it will not happen.

Thank G-D the Hashmonayim had emunah (faith) and stood up to evil. Where is Judah HaMakabi when we need such a leader?

December 06, 2010

South American countries recognize Palestinian state


By JORDANA HORN, HILARY LEILA KRIEGER AND HERB KEI
06/12/2010
After initial recognition by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay follow suit, recognize "free and independent" Palestine with 1967 borders; Israel: recognition contradicts road map; Clinton to make major statement on talks.

Following in Brazil’s footsteps from last Friday, Argentina announced on Monday it recognized a “free and independent” Palestinian state, sparking an immediate condemnation from Israel.

Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a letter that her
country recognized a Palestine defined by 1967 borders, Argentine officials said.

On one hand, who cares?

But should we care?

Could this lead to the world imposing a settlement, like they have in other countries?

The world has been turned upside down, it would be nice to get back to normal, that is if it ever was a thing such as normal. The world just has to mess with the Jews and Israel.

Egypt: Sinai shark attacks could be Israeli plot


By JPOST.COM STAFF
06/12/2010
After shark attack leaves woman dead in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egyptian official says Mossad could have put shark in sea to harm Egypt's tourism.

A possible connection between Israel and the shark attack that left a 70-year-old German woman dead in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday is not unfounded, according to South Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha, quoted by Reuters on Monday.

Some have suggested that the shark attack could have been part of a secret plan by Mossad to harm Egyptian tourism.


"What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark (in the sea) to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question, but it needs time to confirm," Shousha was quoted as saying by state news site egynews.net, according to Reuters.

Egyptians have previously blamed Israel for other problems such as drug and weapon smuggling, and have said it supports media that seek to portray Egypt in a negative light.

According to local diving experts in Sharm el-Sheikh, shark attacks are extremely rare in the area and many were baffled by why so many tourists were attacked in the Red Sea in recent weeks.

"Egypt is full of rumors and one does not know what to believe," Gasser Mohamed, a diving instructor at CFun Divers center in South Sinai told Reuters. "I see that there are a lot of sharks in the sea and the possible rarity of tuna fish due to over-fishing seems to be causing the attacks.

December 05, 2010

Eitan seeks probe into circumstances of fire


By GIL HOFFMAN
06/12/2010
“One thing I promise you is that I will make sure that everyone who bears responsibility for this fiasco will pay for it,” father of bus victim vows.

Government Services Minister Michael Eitan became the first cabinet member to call for a full inquiry into the Carmel fire on Sunday.

He told the cabinet that a clause calling for an investigation should be included in the decision being approved by the ministers.


Eitan said a further investigation by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for, was insufficient and that only a proper probe could prevent future conflagrations by revealing why past recommendations were not implemented.

“We have an obligation to investigate this tragedy and its causes in order to learn lessons from it,” Eitan said. “The public wants an objective assessment that will probe deeply, and it is our obligation to enable such a report to be published.”

Eitan stopped short of calling for a formal commission of inquiry. He appeared to lament Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s decision not to resign following the blunder in not providing resources needed by the firefighters, which is in Yishai’s jurisdiction.

“Israel does not have a tradition of ministerial responsibility,” he said. “We have a tradition of letting less good things like commissions of inquiry and courts do the job.”

No other minister hinted publicly that Yishai should quit, but an anonymous minister was quoted as saying that Yishai “knew how to fight for budgets for the haredim and against foreign workers, and if he would have fought with the same emotion for the firefighters, we might not be in this situation today.”

Calls to fire Yishai came instead from the Movement for Quality Government, which wrote Netanyahu threatening legal action if he did not remove Yishai from his post.

“Only removing the interior minister or him quitting can restore the public’s faith in the government that was destroyed in the fire and guarantee norms or good governance and accountability,” the movement wrote Netanyahu.

Ze’ev Even-Hen, a former police commander, mocked Yishai’s call for a commission of inquiry in his speech at the funeral of his daughter Topaz, who was one of the Prisons Service cadets killed in the fire.

“One thing I promise you is that I will make sure that everyone who bears responsibility for this fiasco will pay for it,” Even-Hen said by her grave. “They won’t be able to flee via commissions of inquiry that they themselves form. I will make sure for you and your friends that the proper explanations will be given. This is the second Yom Kippur War-style fiasco in this country and I will make sure that there will not be a third.”

Yishai defended himself on his way into Sunday’s cabinet meeting, saying that a commission of inquiry would be able to find who was really to blame. He told reporters that on the day he took office, he wrote the prime minister and finance minister demanding half a billion shekels for staff and gear for the fire service but only NIS 100 million was allocated.

Sources close to Yishai said that during the seven years between his first term as interior minister that ended in 2002 and his return to the ministry, not a single agora was added to the budget of the firefighters. They also lamented that funding was cut for fire-fighting planes.

Kadima MK Meir Sheetrit, who was Yishai’s predecessor at the Interior Ministry, said he tried to privatize the Fire and Rescue Service as a separate authority and nearly succeeded before his government fell apart. He complained that Yishai did not complete the move.

Ministers from Labor and Likud came to Yishai’s defense.

Minorities Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman (Labor) said “this is not the time to lop off heads” while the dead were still being buried.

“The calls to blame someone have come too early,” Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) said. “A natural disaster occurred, and now is the time to look into what happened and ponder it. There is no doubt that there was a fiasco, but you cannot blame the government, which has only been in power for a year and a half.

We should wait and not hurry to point fingers at one person or another.”

December 03, 2010

MERF APPEARANCE

For those who would like to hear me on the radio, I am very pleased to announce that I will be having a weekly appearance on the Middle East Radio Forum, the show is hosted By William Wolf.

The time of the show is 2pm EDT, 11AM Pacific, 9pm Israel, every Sunday. Please feel free to call in if you have any questions about my weekly comments. If you should happen to miss the show then you can go to the MERF web page and listen to me and other guest in the archives.

You can listen to the show by going to the MERF web page
http://www.middleeastradioforum.org/

Blaze out of control; firemen rescued from flames

Massive blaze rages out of control Friday night; firefighters rescued from northern community of Nir Etzion. Fire brigades plan major operation for Saturday using some 30 firefighting aircraft
Ynet reporters

Israel’s deadliest fire, which claimed the lives of at least 41 people, continues to rage for second night in a row: Several firefighters were rescued from the flames in the northern community of Nir Etzion, where paramedics continued to search for possible casualties in the area.

The fire raged of control late Friday, prompting authorities to block Highway 4. Residents of Nir Etzion as well as Ein Hod and Yemin Ord were ordered to leave their homes urgently as result of grave fears for their lives. The communities were evacuated Thursday, but some residents returned to their houses on Friday.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses said that the flames were nearing the Nir Etzion meat factory, which holds gas depots on site.

Also Friday, the fire reached the Carmel Forest Spa resort, which was evacuated earlier, and engulfed it in flames. Dozens of firemen were forced to flee the resort earlier as flames approached them rapidly.

The blaze was also moving closer to University of Haifa and to the Denia neighborhood in town, Israel’s third-largest city, and was raging in the Isfiya area as well.


Air Force to lead operation

While the blaze rages on, officials at the fire command post are planning to renew major aerial firefighting efforts on Saturday after halting them at night. Authorities are preparing a complex operation utilizing some 30 firefighting aircraft. The effort will be coordinated by Air Force officials who enlisted for the cause.

Firefighting and Rescue Services Spokesman Yoram Levy expressed optimism in a conversation with Ynet, saying that “tomorrow we’ll deliver a serious blow” to the blaze.

By Friday evening, all cases of arson in the north during the day were dealt with and extinguished. Police officials raised their alert level for fear that arsonists will continue to operate nationwide in an effort to disrupt forces battling the blaze.

Speaking at a briefing Friday, Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen said he hoped the fire would be extinguished by Saturday night. He added that officials will soon find out whether the massive blaze was the result of arson or negligence.

“Our eyes are burning after working for 16 hours,” an exhausted fireman told Ynet as he emerged from one of the blaze sites. “We make sure to use breathing equipment, yet regrettably we do not wear our protective goggles, as they make our work much more cumbersome.”

Almost no Carmel residents were evacuated Friday, after some 17,000 left their homes Thursday as the flames approached their communities.

Israeli firefighters received massive assistance from many states worldwide, including Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Jordan, Britain, Turkey, France, the United States, Egypt, Italy, Croatia, Romania, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, and Spain. On Friday, the US Administration announced that it was dispatching three firefighting experts to Israel as well as large quantities of fire retardant substances.

Dor Glick, Yoav Zitun, Yitzhak Benhorin, Yael Branovksy, Roni Sofer, Ahiya Raved and Hagai Einav contributed to the story

Do Not Dishonor The Dead With Cover UP

'Source of Carmel fire was burning trash, not arson'
By YAAKOV LAPPIN AND JPOST.COM STAFF
12/03/2010 21:15

Police Chief: Two suspects arrested for arson in Kiryat Bialik and Tivon fires; police are on alert for more cases of arson.

The Fire Department Commissioner Friday night said that the source of the Carmel fire has been determined to be a burning trash pile and not arson.

Earlier on Friday, Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said that the two arson suspects arrested earlier in the day are not linked to the main fire on the Carmel Mountain.

Cohen said that investigators have determined that the large fire, which is raging in the Carmel, spread from a single ignition point. He added that the cause of the fire would be determined by Saturday.


The police inspector-general said that there were, however, a number of suspected arson attacks in the North, but that the cause of the large Carmel fire was still unknown.

Police have said that additional fires in Kiryat Bialik and Tivon were both caused by arson.

A separate wildfire was reported Friday afternoon in a field near Route 70, in the southern Carmel mountains near Bat Shlomo (south of Haifa). Route 70 was closed to traffic in both directions.

Earlier on Friday, police found a bike, a bag, and a wig inside near a fire center in Tzur Shalom, leading them to believe that the fire was caused by an arsonist or arsonists.

Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told the Post that there are 3 fire centers - Tzur Shalom, the Atlit - Tirat Hacarmel area, and the Carmel hillsides. In one, Tzur Shalom, north of Haifa, "we located suspicious items pointing to arson. As for the other two major fires, it is too early and the incidents are to large in scale to know their causes at this stage." The death toll in the fires rose to 42 on Friday, according to Army Radio.

Don't do a cover up.

The police say one thing, they have three ignition points and have recovered evidence of arson relating to the original fire.

Now the head of the fire department says it was a fire in a garbage dump that got out of control.

Do not dishonor the deaths of the prison guards, police officers and firemen.

More important to try to keep the Druze from seeking revenge which based on the arrest of two Druze starting a fire outside of an Israeli Arab village has already started.

Tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. The insult to the Druze if Israel covers up the arson may have negative ramifications for the future of Israel.

2 Daliyat al-Karmel residents arrested for attempted arson

Published: 12.03.10, 16:46 / Israel News

Police arrested two residents of Daliyat al-Karmel in the Muhraka area in the Carmel after spotting them hurling flammable materials. They are being questioned as the area is being scanned. (Yair Altman)


It is already starting Druze are going after Israeli Arabs in revenge for the fire. Daliyat al-Karmel is a Druze village,
Muhraka is Israeli Arab.

Their will be blood, and lots of it.

Fire disaster: World offers help, Turkey sends planes

Firefighting aircraft on way as Bibi pleads for world's help; Turkey, Egypt pledge assistance. Evacuees to be hosted by communities nationwide

Ynet reporters
Latest Update: 12.03.10, 02:37 / Israel News

International community offering its help: Israeli authorities are expecting to receive more than 20 firefighting aircraft Thursday night from Britain, France, Romania, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Croatia, Azerbaijan and Russia to help in the effort to contain the northern blaze that claimed at least 40 lives.

Despite the great diplomatic tensions vis-à-vis Israel, Turkish officials announced that they too will be sending two firefighting airplanes. Egypt also pledged to send a plane to help battle the blaze. Later Thursday, Jordan and Bulgaria said they are willing to send firefighting teams to help contain the fire. Italy also said it would offer assistance.

Early Friday, US President Barack Obama offered his condolences to families of the 40 victims in Thursday’s blaze.

Obama also offered American assistance in containing the blaze,

Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approached Russia, Italy, Greece and Cyprus and asked for firefighting aircraft to be sent to Israel. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed Israel's ambassadors in the United States, Europe and Jordan to look into possible ways these countries could assist Israel.

Thank You is not enough.

How many disasters has Israel sent help to?

It is nice to see others come to our aid.

'My cadets burned alive'

Members of Prison Service officers course almost all perished in Carmel fire disaster. Among few survivors: Three cadets who were late in catching bus; six mothers who stayed home; three who escaped fire
Raanan Ben-Zur

The personal belongings of the dozens of cadets who were killed in the Carmel disaster Thursday are still scattered over the tables in their Prison Service school classroom. They were called to help in the evacuation of the Damon Prison and left the site in a hurry, never to return. Their friends who were miraculously saved wept for them on Friday. "My cadets burned in between my hands," their commander said.

Among the 49 cadets of the officers' course only a few survived the fire: Three cadets who were late in catching the bus which later caught fire; six married women with children who were told not to join the efforts and three cadets, two of whom managed to escape the burning bus. The third cadet drove together with the course commander, Amnon Wahabi in a private car behind the bus.

Last October, the current class of the Prison Service course commenced training. The cadets were meant to spend six months in training.

"When the call came to support the evacuation efforts the cadets left everything and boarded a bus to the Carmel," head of training Ahser Vaknin related.

According to Prison Service information, the bus arrived at Beit Oren and headed towards the Damon Prison. A security guard stopped the bus some 700 meters from the prison and prevented it from going on further because of the fire. The cadets decided to head back towards the Beit Oren junction and while performing a u-turn on the narrow road the bus caught fire.

The cadets immediately tried to escape the burning vehicle. The back door would not open due to the heavy heat but was eventually broken through enabling the cadets to flee the bus. But the fire spread quickly, catching on with the cadets and led to the death of 36 individuals.

Officer Sigal Duek, a member of the training staff who stood outside the bus and directed it together with two other cadets managed to escape. She later said she was pushed together with the cadets into a private vehicle which ushered them away from the deadly scene.

"The other survivors have not yet taken in what has happened," Vaknin said. "All the Prison Service workers are one big family and what happened to us is a major blow. We are facing the greatest challenge in the coming days. Nevertheless, I am confident we shall continue in our way. We are forever committed to the families of the friends who passed away. We shall support them forever."

According to Vaknin, the fate of the officers' course has yet to be decided. "We are currently busy identifying the bodies and attending the funerals and supporting the families."

December 02, 2010

IDF joins firefighting efforts in north

Hundreds of soldiers from various IDF units deployed in Carmel region in effort to battle fire
Hanan Greenberg
Hundreds of IDF soldiers have been deployed in northern Israel following the Carmel fire disaster in an effort to battle the flames and assist rescue operations.

The army deployed sent firefighting trucks from Air Force bases as well as water tanks, cranes, trucks and buses.

In addition, an Air Force drone is providing the fire command post set up at University of Haifa with images from the field while a plane is illuminating the area.

Meanwhile, the Air Force's meteorological unit is assisting in weather forecasting.

However, the IAF cannot contribute its aircraft to the effort to extinguish the fire due to a decision made 10 years ago following damage caused to planes.

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi attended a status evaluation meeting on Thursday presided by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

The Home Front Command's rescue battalion commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Golan Vach, said that his soldiers have been evacuating residents of Tirat Carmel late Thursday.

"All the mountain tops appear to be smoke-laden from here," he said. "We are assisting citizens and particularly weaker population groups to reach buses and from there to safe locations. There are still some curious onlookers who come here and endanger their lives."

'We'll do whatever it takes'

The Home Front Command's northern district chief, Colonel Anwar Saab, said that the IDF is getting ready for the possibility of clearing roads on Friday in order to reach the focal points of teh fire and injured individuals.

"The IDF has brought in engineering equipment and trained professionals who know how to carry out these kind of jobs. We shall do whatever it takes," he said.

The army also decided to make available soldiers from the Golani, paratroopers and Navy training bases.

Lieutenant Ilan Merdler, a doctor at the IDF's Prison Six, assisted in the evacuation of the victims on a burned out Prison Service bus, where at least 40 people died.

The bus and the car at the scene were very sooty. I saw very tough sights, it was literally like a nightmare," he said. "I hope it all ends in the near future."

Northern fire: More than 15,000 residents evacuated, flames near Haifa

Mass evacuation continues into night as fire rages in northern Israel, thousands of Haifa residents ordered to leave homes; at least 40 people dead, casualty information center reopens for first time since Second Lebanon War

Ahiya Raved
Latest Update: 12.03.10, 01:38 / Israel News

Mass evacuation on, Haifa under threat: More than 15,000 people were evacuated from their homes by late Thursday as a massive fire continued to rage in northern Israel.

Thursday night, officials in Haifa, Israel's third largest city, ordered the evacuation of several streets in the Denia neighborhood. Mayor Yona Yahav estimated that some 2,500 people will be evacuated from their homes and sent to stay at shelters elsewhere in the city.

Earlier in the evening, some 5,000 residents in the town of Tirat Carmel were ordered to leave home and thousands of others were evacuated from various northern communities. Two prisons and a psychiatric hospital were also evacuated for fear the flames would reach them.

40 prison guards killed on bus as huge fire rages in North


By JPOST.COM STAFF AND YAAKOV LAPPIN
02/12/2010
Guards meant to assist in evacuation of some 500 prisoners from Damon Prison; fire-fighting crews, planes attempt to control fire in Carmel area amidst heavy winds; thousands of dunams destroyed.

The majority of the 40 people burned to death in a bus caught up in the Carmel forest fires were prison wardens en route to the Damon Prison.

The wardens were meant to assist in the evacuation of some 500 prisoners from the facility, situated near Kibbutz Beit Oren, when their vehicle became engulfed in fast moving flames which had spread to the narrow mountain road linking Atlit to Kibbutz Bet Oren.

A firefighter spokesman said the blaze had traveled 1500 meters in less than three minutes, adding, "the bus had no chance. They tried to escape but were burned alive. It was a horrific scene."

The spokesman added that the fire was very far from the road on which the bus was travelling when it first set off towards the prison, but had spread far faster than expected.

RELATED:
Peres on Carmel fire: We're praying for a miracle

Fire and Rescue Commissioner Shimon Romach added that the firefighting operation would be limited to ground forces after sunset, since fire planes cannot be used at night. "I don't think we will get control of this tonight," he added.

Thousands of dunams have gone up in flames in the Carmel forest between Haifa University and Ussafiya, and it remains unclear how the incident will end at this stage.

Police described the incident as a "major disaster. Many of the dead are from the security forces, and include civilians. The fire is continuing to spread and is endangering many areas."

Police have asked the public to stay clear of the whole area.

Traffic Police sealed off Route 4 between Beit Oren and Haifa over fears that fires could spread to the Atlit-Tirat Hacarmel area. Police have instructed drivers to use Routes 2 or 6 instead and to stay away from the area.

The area in question contains heavy brush which burns easily, according to firefighters. This fact coupled with strong winds has prompted the evacuations and the presence of multiple fire crews brought in to help with the blaze from various districts in the country.

Additional number for information for families: 08 977 5717

I pray for the families of the dead.

What words can one use at a time like this.

I am waiting on word if a family member was involved.

Amish: From Now On, We Support Israel

Kislev 25, 5771, 02 December 10 04:15
by Hillel Fendel

(Israelnationalnews.com) Close to 50 members of Amish Christian communities in the U.S.and Switzerland visited Israel last week for one reason: To apologize to the Jewish People.

The Ministry of Tourism announced that Bishop Ben Girod, of the Amish community in Idaho, led the delegation in submitting an official apology for having rejected Israel and the Jews.

In addition to touring various sites in Israel, the visitors met with Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Naomi Tzur, Yad Vashem’s Shaya Ben-Yehuda, and Holocaust survivor Eliezer Ayalon. Many of the Amish looked almost hareidi, with their white shirts, black vests, and beards – though no mustaches.

The Amish are famous for shunning modern technology, yet they waived this restriction by boarding cars and an airplane in order to arrive in Israel for their apology. Both in the U.S. and Europe, the Amish have had a history of anti-Semitism, believing that Jews have been “replaced” by Christians and even that Hitler was G-d’s agent in punishing the Jews for their rejection of Jesus.

“We are here to say we are sorry,” Girod told Israel’s Channel 2 News during the group's visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. “We no longer want to reject you or look at you as not being G-d’s people. You were G-d’s people long before we were.” Another Amish member said, “Our people have had some bad attitudes toward the Jewish people and have rejected the Jewish people to a certain extent, and we have come to restore that and apologize.”

A declaration of apology and commitment, beautifully printed on parchment, was presented to Rabbi Rabinovitch on behalf of the entire Amish community. In the declaration, the Amish ask Israel’s forgiveness “for our collective sin of pride and selfishness by ignoring the plight of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.”

The document states that the Amish will, from now on, speak out strongly in support of the Jews and the Jewish state.

This was not the first time Amish and Jews have made group contact. In April ‘09, a Chabad-Lubavitch community in New York City took a delegation of Amish from Pennsylvania on a walking tour of their neighborhood.

Thank You. Enough said.

December 01, 2010

'625 housing units approved in northern Pisgat Ze'ev'


By JPOST.COM STAFF
01/12/2010
Jerusalem's District Committee of Planning, Construction officially approves plan for the establishment of a new neighborhood called "North Pisgat Ze'ev" according to report by Channel 10 News.

The District Committee of Planning and Construction in Jerusalem has officially approved the establishment of a new neighborhood of 625 housing units in northeastern Jerusalem called "North Pisgat Ze'ev," according to a report by Channel 10 News.

The move comes despite strong opposition by the US administration.


According to figures by Peace Now regarding construction after the settlement building freeze, a number of tenders were approved in the last month. On October 30, the Mughrabi Bridge plan in the Old City was approved and on November 5 a plan was approved for the construction of 1345 apartments in Har Homa and Ramot. A day before, a plan for 238 apartments in Pisgat Ze'ev and Ramot was approved. On November 25, the construction of 625 housing units in north Pisgat Zeev received approval.

According to the report, it is estimated that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave-in to his commitment to right-wing and Shas ministers in which he allowed construction before an additional freeze. At the beginning of the week, Netanyahu convened a Likud Knesset meeting in an attempt to restore calm regarding an emerging deal with the US for an additional moratorium. During the meeting, Netanyahu made it clear for the first time that if he did not receive loan guarantees from the US in writing, he would not bring the deal with Washington for approval at the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet.

"We have still not received a written summary on the fundamental understands from the Americans," Netanyahu said. "If we receive a written summary, I will bring it to the cabinet and I am sure the cabinet ministers will approve it, because that is what is best for the state of Israel."

This is great news. The Americans are upset, who cares.

Israel must do what is good for Israel and not care what the world thinks all the time.

Mossad bids farewell to its 'Superman'

Egypt named him after a superhero; Arab world accused him of assassination plots. Meir Dagan wraps up eight years as head of Israeli secret service with achievements mostly attributed to him by others
Ynet

Was the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist on Monday Mossad Chief Meir Dagan's farewell gift?

The head of the Israeli secret service, who the Egyptians nicknamed "Superman" after the assassination of Hamas senior official al-Mabhouh earlier this year, concluded on Monday eight years at the helm of the organization.


Change of Guard

At the age of 65, Dagan will transfer the reins to his nearly-anonymous successor, Tamir Pardo, who will have to fill his almost impossibly big shoes.


If Dagan is indeed responsible for the assassination of al-Mabhouh in Dubai, it can be considered as the Mossad chief's "big finale."


Born in Russia, Dagan moved with his family to Israel at the age of five. His long service in the security apparatus started when he enlisted to the paratroopers' brigade, after which he slowly climbed up the ladder.


Among his positions, Dagan commanded Sayeret Rimon at the Gaza Strip, which was in charge of battling terrorist activity at the Strip during the early 70s.


In the beginning of the 90s Dagan served as Head of the IDF Operations Directorate, and was under the command of then deputy chief of staff and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Dagan was injured twice during his military service and was awarded the Medal of Courage, which is given to those who carry out acts of gallantry at the risk of life, during combat duty.

Era of assassinations
In 1997 Dagan retired from the IDF, and served as the head of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau before entering the Mossad.


Dagan also engaged in a short political career, serving as one of Ariel Sharon's election headquarters chairmen.


But even before the controversial al-Mabhouh affair, many in the Arab world and the international community accused the Mossad and its head of numerous assassinations which no one claimed responsibility for– at least not officially.


Prior to the sensational Dubai hit, the Middle East was shaken by the February 2008 assassination of Hezbollah's Operations Officer Imad Mughniyah at the outskirts of Damascus.


Days later, rumors began spreading as to the identity of the perpetrators and the details of the operation.


British publication Sunday Times quoted "Israeli security and intelligence sources" who claimed that Mossad agents replaced the driver's seat headrest in Mughniyah's Mitsubishi Pajero with a booby-trapped one.


Another British report by the Sunday Express described a different version of the event – though also placed full responsibility on the head of Mossad and its operatives.


Six months later, General Mohammed Suleiman, who was Syrian President Bashar Assad's top aide on military and security matters and the liaison officer between Damascus and Hezbollah, was assassinated by a sniper while strolling on the Syrian coast.


A Short while after, Hisham al-Labadani, the bureau chief for Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, was also killed on the streets of Damascus.


While the exact circumstances of his assassination remain unknown, reports claimed al-Labadani was forcefully dragged out of his vehicle by anonymous perpetrators who did not hesitate to shoot him point blank in broad daylight.


During Dagan's cadence, Israel systematically avoided claiming responsibility for any of the operations, and enforced a complete blackout over the political echelons.


After the al-Mabhouh hit, which stirred controversy worldwide, senior governmental ranks decided not to extend Dagan's term. According to reports, the Mossad head's request to extend his tenor was denied due to the political entanglement caused by the affair.

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