Monday, December 27, 2010

How is Israel supposed to make peace with them?

Hamas Commander: Israel Will Cease to Exist - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
Muhammad Deif, the commander of Hamas' military wing, said in a statement issued Saturday that the Palestinians will not give up their struggle until Israel ceases to exist.
"You will disappear and we will have Palestine," Deif said in a direct message to Israel.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pro Israel forces blocked the Seattle anti-Israel bus ad campaign

How about these ads? I'd like to see these on busses

Palestine-another terrorist state
Palestinians train kindergardners to use machine guns
Palestinians shoot missiles from schools and hospitals
Palestinians aim missiles at schools and hospitals
Coming to a your neighborhood-another extremist Wahabbi mosque
Palestine-where Arabs can be terrorized and brutalized
Palestine-another Arab state where Christians will be terrorized

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PA considers all Israel Palestine

3 PA TV shows present Israeli places
Tiberias, Rosh Hanikra and all of Israel as "Palestine"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Contrary to the repeated statements by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to foreign leaders that the PA recognizes Israel, the PA internally in Arabic continues to deny Israel's existence and to present a world without Israel.

The PA transmits the message to its people that it does not recognize Israel's existence, describing all Israeli land, cities and regions as "Palestinian." Palestinian TV is one tool among many used by the PA to disseminate this message.

In three recent programs on PA TV, which is owned by the PA and operated under the auspices of Mahmoud Abbas's office, Palestinians were presented with a world without Israel, which is the most explicit non-recognition:

1. The Israeli city of Tiberias was said to be "in northern Palestine, close to the Palestinian-Jordanian-Syrian border."
- "Palestine" could not share a border with Syria unless Israel did not exist. Tiberias is in northern Israel and not "northern Palestine."

2. The coast of "Palestine" was said in an educational program to be 224 km. long, reaching Rosh Hanikra in northern Israel.
- The coast of "Palestine" could not be 224 km. long unless there were no Israel, since the coast of the Gaza Strip is only 40 km. long.

3. "Palestine is big - 27,000 sq. km.," said PA TV host.
- The area of "Palestine" could not be 27,000 sq. km. unless Israel were to disappear, since the West Bank and Gaza together are only about 6,000 sq. km.

The following are the transcripts and context of the statements defining Israel as "Palestine":
1. Host: "In Palestine there are very beautiful historical sites and cultural and natural sites... The city of Tiberias is one such area, where history, nature and water come together."
Reporter: "The city of Tiberias is in northern Palestine, close to the Palestinian-Jordanian-Syrian border

stop the Seattle anti Israel ads

Despite continuing terrorist policies and refusal to negotiate in good faith with Israel, the supporters of the Palestinians want to take out ad space on Seattle buses to condemn Israel. Here are ways to help.

Thank you for your continued action and interest in the important events unfolding in Seattle. A lot is happening, especially on the political and media front! In red are suggested actions you can take – as you will see below, your efforts are making a difference. Thank you to all of you who submitted the information, and who took the actions, summarized here. Please continue to send me your ideas and updates, and I’ll compile and distribute. (If you did not receive the first batch, it’s appended below. And if you have had enough of this and want to drop off the list, just say so, no offense taken….)

Political Action
· According to King 5, Metro is “scrambling to reassess its advertising policies” in the wake of your protests and the outpouring of indignation and concern. YAY!!! Your indignant calls and emails are having an effect on Metro. And KIRO Radio reports that “A spokeswoman for Metro Transit says the county has received about 600 comments since plans for the proposed bus ad became known.” WOW – that’s grassroots activism at its finest. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes Dow Constantine as saying, “These provocative ads bring in a negligible amount of revenue, but cost hundreds of hours staff time to address the intended controversy – time that is better spent providing bus service.” Constantine has asked Metro to review and update their policy regarding controversial or potentially inflammatory ads – if that’s done quickly enough, it may kill this campaign, if not for moral or political reasons, maybe only due to financial considerations for Metro. So….
· Keep the pressure on Metro, by calling their Customer Assistance Office (206-553-3060 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-553-3060 end_of_the_skype_highlighting), emailing, or submitting the form at I’m told that email and online comments can take a while to make their way through the Metro system, so phone calls are best.
· Please also keep the pressure on the King County management: County Executive Dow Constantine ( and the County Council members (listed at This is having an effect! King Councilmember, Bob Ferguson from District 1, wrote to a supporter, “I have travelled to Israel and am sensitive to the issues raised in your e-mail. I have received a great deal of feedback on this issue. This morning, I contacted Kevin Desmond, General Manager of King County Metro Transit, and Executive Dow Constantine to express my concerns. Executive Constantine has stated that Metro will be reviewing their policies regarding ads on buses.”
· King County Council President Pete von Reichbauer wrote to County Executive Dow Constantine (12/20), “I am a strong advocate of freedom of speech and a strong believer of common sense. And I believe very strongly that dangerous language can create dangerous environments in a society. I believe that this proposed bus advertising needs to be reviewed and reevaluated.” Von Reichbauer specifically mentioned the July 2006 murder at the Jewish Federation as an example of how anti-Israel rhetoric can provoke anti-Semitic hate crime. His letter was reported by King 5 and KIRO Radio (links above).
· You can also contact Linda Thielke, Transit Spokesperson for Metro at 206-684-1151 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-684-1151 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or

Press & Blog Coverage
· The original King 5 story is still generating a lot of traffic. Last night at 10pm there were over 16,000 votes posted, running very slightly in our favor (“No” votes). By today (1pm) that number has more than doubled, and 65% have voted “Yes,” so the “other side” is also effectively campaigning for this. Please continue to vote and forward the link to this poll, asking others to vote “No”:
· King 5 ran a follow-up piece about the community outrage,
· KIRO Radio has a similar story: You can add comments to the KIRO story.
· Dori Monson had Ed Mast on his show on KIRO 97.3 FM today. Barbara Lahav of Seattle J Street called in and did a fabulous job stating the community concerns, rebutting Mast, and avoiding the trap Monson tried to set for her to call for censorship of the offending ads. Rob Jacobs (StandWithUs Northwest) is scheduled to be on the show at 2:15pm Pacific Time today. You can listen to it live here: andpossibly call in. (I couldn’t find an MP3 archive of the show; let me know if you know of one.)
· Seattle Times: “Metro's acceptance of 'Israeli war crimes' bus ad draws complaints,” is also accepting comments.
· The Seattle P-I piece mentioned above:
· Word has reached Israel – this is clearly not a local issue only: is open for your comments.
· See also blog postings:
o David Brumer, 'Israeli War Crimes' signs to go on Seattle Metro buses: That's Right: Not Hamas War Crimes, but Israeli
o Judy Balint in Jerusalem, Anti-Israel Signs on Seattle Buses
o Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugged, Jew-Hatred Bus Ads Run in Seattle
o Elder of Zion, An answer to the anti-Israel Seattle bus ads
· Family Security Matters has a long and detailed exposé by Adrian Morgan on the people behind the campaign and its funding, in Seattle and elsewhere. Fascinating reading if you really want a deep dive:

Organizations Statements
· The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle statement to the media and supporters can be found at Federation has also created an online form petition – personal notes are always taken more seriously, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to write, you can add your name to the form letter here:
· The Seattle Chapter of the American Jewish Committee has also issued a statement titled “An AJC Analysis of Planned Metro Bus Ads.” I haven’t found this online but have it in email and am happy to forward to anyone who’d like to see it.

Pro-Israel Ads
· A number of people have proposed running a pro-Israel (or even anti-Arab) ad campaign, either to educate and promote an alternative message or simply to challenge Metro’s policies regarding what ads they will accept. A few of you creative types have even gone as far as designing actual ads. StandWithUs (and possibly other organizations) is considering this and open to your ideas. Send them my way & I’ll compile and share as appropriate.

Other updates
· Another Facebook group has been formed, “Stop The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign”, currently with over 450 members. If you’re a Facebook member, join it at
· Continue to mobilize Israel supporters, distribution lists, Facebook and Twitter friends…. Feel free to forward this message and let people know they can contact me ( to be added directly to future updates.
· An out-of-town activist proposed some “passive resistance,” such as sit-ins in front of buses with the ads so they can't leave station, or continuous calling to Metro’s lines to jam them. Once again, we do not condone or promote any illegal or disruptive behavior!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


ADL Highlights Top 10 Issues Affecting Jews in 2010

New York, NY, December 20, 2010 … The Obama Administration's efforts to jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism, the drumbeat of Israel delegitimization, the stubborn potency of global anti-Semitism, Iran's unyielding march toward nuclear weapons, and the fallout from the Gaza flotilla affair were among the top issues affecting Jews in 2010, according to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) annual list.

"For much of the year there was a glimmer of hope that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would finally get off the ground, and yet our hopes diminished with each passing week as the parties failed to reach a consensus and the settlements issue became a major excuse for the Palestinians," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Meanwhile, the unrelenting global assault against Israel's legitimacy continued apace, with calls for divestment and sanctions against the Jewish state and efforts to undermine Israel's credibility in international forums and at the United Nations."

"The threat of terrorism once again hit close to home, with authorities thwarting multiple plots to detonate bombs on U.S. soil," added Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. "While Jewish communities around the world largely remained safe and secure, anti-Semitism continued to be a concern, as did the threat of an attack motivated by Islamic fundamentalism."


* Mideast Peace Process Drags On
* Despite Stronger Sanctions, Iran Defiant
* Anti-Semitism Still A Potent Force
* Israel Delegitimization Continued Apace
* Jews Targeted for Terror
* Midterm Elections Shake Up Washington
* Human Rights Scorecard Mixed
* Flotilla Affair Sparks Backlash
* Catholic-Jewish Relations Tested
* Bullies & Anti-Semites Proliferate Online

Monday, December 20, 2010

Muslims support Bin Laden

a new poll shows that 130 million Muslims are sympathetic to Al Qaeda and Bin Laden , and that is from just 7 Muslim majority countries.

Friday, December 17, 2010

China behind the worm?

Stuxnet’s Finnish-Chinese Connection
Dec. 14 2010 - 8:07 am | 29,508 views | 1 recommendation | 15 comments
Posted by Jeffrey Carr
Chinese flag

I recently wrote a white paper entitled “Dragons, Tigers, Pearls, and Yellowcake” in which I proposed four alternative scenarios for the Stuxnet worm other than the commonly held assumption that it was Israel or the U.S. targeting Iran’s Bushehr or Natanz facilities. During the course of my research for that paper, I uncovered a connection between two of the key players in the Stuxnet drama: Vacon, the Finnish manufacturer of one of two frequency converter drives targeted by this malware; and RealTek, who’s digital certificate was stolen and used to smooth the way for the worm to be loaded onto a Windows host without raising any alarms. A third important piece of the puzzle, which I’ll discuss later in this article, directly connects a Chinese antivirus company which writes their own viruses with the Stuxnet worm.

Most people who have followed the Stuxnet investigation know that the international headquarters for Vacon is in Finland, but surprisingly, Finland isn’t where Vacon’s frequency converter drives are manufactured. Vacon’s manufacturing plant is actually located in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) under the name Vacon Suzhou Drives Co. Ltd., located at 11A, Suchun Industrial Square 428# Xinglong Street, SIP Suzhou 215126 China.

Vacon isn’t the only company involved with Stuxnet that has a Chinese connection. The first genuine digital certificate used by Stuxnet developers was from RealTek Semiconductor Corp., a Taiwanese company which has a subsidiary in (of all places) Suzhou under the name Realsil Microelectronics, Inc. (450 Shenhu Road, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou 215021 Jiangsu Province, China).

The question, of course, is what, if anything, does this say about China’s possible role as the source of the Stuxnet worm. There are scenarios under which China would benefit such as the rare-earths scenario that I presented in my white paper, however there’s a lack of data on mining failures that can be attributed to Stuxnet. The closest that anyone has come to identifying compromised operations is at Natanz however their centrifuge failures go back several years according to this February, 2010 report by ISIS, while the earliest Stuxnet sample seen by Symantec’s researchers was June, 2009 and that’s before it had signed driver files or exploited the remote code execution vulnerability that appeared in January, 2010 and March, 2010 respectively. Natanz may very well have been the target of an earlier cyber attack, or even multiple attacks, which had nothing to do with Stuxnet.

Does China Benefit By Attacking Natanz?

In 2008, China decided to assist the IAEA inspectors after it learned that Iran was in possession of blueprints to shape uranium metal into warheads, according to this article in The Telegraph. That same article discloses that Chinese designs for centrifuges were discovered in Iran, supplied via Pakistan’s AQ Khan.

On April 13, 2010, Beijing reiterated its opposition to Iran’s goal to develop nuclear weapons capabilities while stating that sanctions against Iran would be counter-productive. In other words, the PRC wanted to support its third largest supplier of oil (after Saudi Arabia and Angola) while at the same time seeking ways to get Iran to stop its uranium fuel enrichment program. What better way to accomplish that goal than by covertly creating a virus that will sabotage Natanz’ centrifuges in a way that simulates mechanical failure while overtly supporting the Iranian government by opposing sanctions pushed by the U.S. It’s both simple and elegant. Even if the worm was discovered before it accomplished its mission, who would blame China, Iran’s strongest ally, when the most obvious culprits would be Israel and the U.S.?

Reviewing The Evidence

China has an intimate knowledge of Iran’s centrifuges since, according to one source quoted above, they’re of Chinese design.

China has better access than any other country to manufacturing plans for the Vacon frequency converter drive made by Vacon’s Suzhou facility and specifically targeted by the Stuxnet worm (along with an Iranian company’s drive). Furthermore, in March 2010, China’s Customs ministry started an audit at Vacon’s Suzhou facility and took two employees into custody thereby providing further access to Vacon’s manufacturing specifications under cover of an active investigation.

China has better access than any other country to RealTek’s digital certificates through it’s Realsil office in Suzhou and, secondarily, to JMicron’s office in Taiwan.

China has direct access to Windows source code, which would explain how a malware team could create 4 key zero day vulnerabilities for Windows when most hackers find it challenging to develop even one.

There were no instances of Stuxnet infections in the PRC until very late which never made sense to me, particularly when Siemens software is pervasive throughout China’s power installations. Then, almost as an after-thought and over three months from the time the virus was first discovered, Chinese media reported one million infections, and here’s where the evidence becomes really interesting.

That report originated with a Chinese antivirus company called Rising International, who we now know colluded with an official in Beijing’s Public Security Bureau to make announcements encouraging Chinese citizens to download AV software from Rising International (RI) to fight a new virus that RI had secretly created in its own lab. Considering this new information, RI’s Stuxnet announcement sounds more like a CYA strategy from the worm’s originators than anything else.

In Summary

The conventional wisdom on which nation state was responsible for the Stuxnet worm has relentlessly pointed the finger at Israel or the United States almost from day one of the worm’s discovery. No other scenarios were discussed or even considered with the exception of my own conjecture about India’s INSAT-4b satellite failure and Britain’s Heysham 1 nuclear plant shutdown, and then my white paper proposing 4 additional alternative scenarios; all of which were my way of trying (and failing) to expand the discussion beyond Israel and Iran. The appeal of a U.S. or Israeli cyber attack against first Bushehr, then Natanz, was just too good to pass up even though there was no hard evidence and very slim circumstantial evidence to support a case for either country. The best that Ralph Langner, CEO of Langner Communications (and the leading evangelist for this scenario) could point to was an obscure Hebrew word for Myrtus and a biblical reference for a date found in the malware that pertained to Persia; both of which could have been explained in a half dozen alternate ways having nothing to do with either Israel or the U.S.

As far as China goes, I’ve identified 5 distinct ties to Stuxnet that are unique to China as well as provided a rationale for the attack which fits China’s unique role as Iran’s ally and customer, while opposing Iran’s fuel enrichment plans. There’s still a distinct lack of information on any other facilities that suffered damage, and no good explanations for why there was such massive collateral damage across dozens of countries if only one or two facilities in one nation state were the targets however based solely on the known facts, I consider China to be the most likely candidate for Stuxnet’s origin.

How can anyone seriously suggest the Palestinians will ever seek peace

Last Friday, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority's chief peace negotiator with Israel published an op-ed in Britain's Guardian newspaper in which he declared eternal war on the Jewish state. This he did by asserting that any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that does not permit the immigration of some 7 million foreign Arabs to Israel will be "completely untenable."
So as far as the supposedly moderate chief Palestinian negotiator is concerned, a peace deal in which Israel cedes Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians as the Israeli Left desires will not be sufficient for the Palestinians. Unless Israel also agrees to commit national suicide by accepting 7 million foreign Arabs as citizens, the Palestinians will continue to wage their war. So with or without a Palestinian state, as long as Israel exists, the Palestinians will continue to seek its destruction

40% of Palestinians live in Gaza, 60% in the West Bank. The leader of Hamas in Gaza does not accept PA authority, and makes plain that it will never accept the existence of any state of Israel, regardless of whether a Palestinian state is established

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Palestinians don't want peace

The Palestinians Are the Real Obstacle to Peace - Moshe Ya'alon
Unfortunately, what stands between the Palestinians and eventual statehood is their insincerity when it comes to real peace. Israel has repeatedly proposed the independence that the Palestinians ostensibly desire. But instead of concluding a deal with Israel, they have demonstrated a total unwillingness to compromise, often favoring terrorism. Is it any wonder Israelis find it ever more difficult to trust the Palestinians?
We do not yet have two states for two peoples because the Palestinians refuse to accept that there even exists a Jewish nation that lays legitimate claim to its land. They reject the entire premise of a state for the Jewish people - not only beyond the pre-1967 lines but even within the 1948 boundaries.
Israel remains committed to the cause of peace. We have no desire to govern the affairs of another people. But our acceptance of a viable Palestinian state awaits a similar Palestinian acceptance of the rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator, recently wrote that such a step would require a modification of the Palestinian narrative. He's absolutely right. Until this happens, there can be no chance for peace. Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon, a former IDF Chief of Staff, is Israel's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs. (Foreign Policy)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

some good news

Stuxnet Worm Still Out of Control at Iran's Nuclear Sites, Experts Say
By Ed Barnes
Published December 09, 2010
Print Email Share Comments (418) Text Size

Iran International Photo Agency, via AFP
Aug 21: The first fuel is loaded into the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.
EXCLUSIVE: Iran's nuclear program is still in chaos despite its leaders' adamant claim that they have contained the computer worm that attacked their facilities, cybersecurity experts in the United States and Europe say.
The American and European experts say their security websites, which deal with the computer worm known as Stuxnet, continue to be swamped with traffic from Tehran and other places in the Islamic Republic, an indication that the worm continues to infect the computers at Iran's two nuclear sites.
The Stuxnet worm, named after initials found in its code, is the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever created. Examination of the worm shows it was a cybermissile designed to penetrate advanced security systems. It was equipped with a warhead that targeted and took over the controls of the centrifuge systems at Iran’s uranium processing center in Natanz, and it had a second warhead that targeted the massive turbine at the nuclear reactor in Bashehr.
Stuxnet was designed to take over the control systems and evade detection, and it apparently was very successful. Last week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after months of denials, admitted that the worm had penetrated Iran's nuclear sites, but he said it was detected and controlled.
The second part of that claim, experts say, doesn’t ring true.

Eric Byres, a computer expert who has studied the worm, said his site was hit with a surge in traffic from Iran, meaning that efforts to get the two nuclear plants to function normally have failed. The web traffic, he says, shows Iran still hasn’t come to grips with the complexity of the malware that appears to be still infecting the systems at both Bashehr and Natanz.
“The effort has been stunning," Byres said. "Two years ago American users on my site outnumbered Iranians by 100 to 1. Today we are close to a majority of Iranian users.”

Read more:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christians-they are after you too

n the wake of a series of attacks in Baghdad and Mosul, thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled abroad or to the relative safety of the Kurdish north. More Photos »
Published: December 12, 2010 NYT

* QOSH, Iraq — A new wave of Iraqi Christians has fled to northern Iraq or abroad amid a campaign of violence against them and growing fear that the country’s security forces are unable or, more ominously, unwilling to protect them.
Some fleeing Christians are finding sanctuary in Qosh.
The flight — involving thousands of residents from Baghdad and Mosul, in particular — followed an Oct. 31 siege at a church in Baghdad that killed 51 worshipers and 2 priests and a subsequent series of bombings and assassinations singling out Christians. This new exodus, which is not the first, highlights the continuing displacement of Iraqis despite improved security over all and the near-resolution of the political impasse that gripped the country after elections in March.

It threatens to reduce further what Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East called “a community whose roots were in Iraq even before Christ.”

Those who fled the latest violence — many of them in a panicked rush, with only the possessions they could pack in cars — warned that the new violence presages the demise of the faith in Iraq. Several evoked the mass departure of Iraq’s Jews after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.
“It’s exactly what happened to the Jews,” said Nassir Sharhoom, 47, who fled last month to the Kurdish capital, Erbil, with his family from Dora, a once mixed neighborhood in Baghdad. “They want us all to go.”

Iraq’s leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, have pledged to tighten security and appealed for tolerance for minority faiths in what is an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

“The Christian is an Iraqi,” he said after visiting those wounded in the siege of the church, Our Lady of Salvation, the worst single act of violence against Christians since 2003. “He is the son of Iraq and from the depths of a civilization that we are proud of.”

For those who fled, though, such pronouncements have been met with growing skepticism. The daily threats, the uncertainty and palpable terror many face have overwhelmed even the pleas of Christian leaders not to abandon their historic place in a diverse Iraq.

“Their faith in God is strong,” said the Rev. Gabriele Tooma, who heads the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, part of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Qosh, which opened its monastic rooms to 25 families in recent weeks. “It is their faith in the government that has weakened.”

Christians, of course, are not the only victims of the bloodshed that has swept Iraq for more than seven and a half years; Sunni and Shiite Arabs have died on a far greater scale. Only two days after the attack on the church, a dozen bombs tore through Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, killing at least 68 people and wounding hundreds.

The Christians and other smaller minority groups here, however, have been explicitly made targets and have emigrated in disproportionate numbers. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, these groups account for 20 percent of the Iraqis who have gone abroad, while they were only 3 percent of the country’s prewar population.

More than half of Iraq’s Christian community, estimated to number 800,000 to 1.4 million before the American-led invasion in 2003, have already left the country.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an iteration of the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, claimed responsibility for the suicidal siege and said its fighters would kill Christians “wherever they can reach them.”

What followed last month were dozens of shootings and bombings in Baghdad and Mosul, the two cities outside of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. At least a dozen more Christians died, eight of them in Mosul.

Three generations of the Gorgiz family — 15 in all — fled their homes there on the morning of Nov. 23 as the killings spread. Crowded into a single room at the monastery in Qosh, they described living in a state of virtual siege, afraid to wear crosses on the streets, afraid to work or even leave their houses in the end.

The night before they left, Diana Gorgiz, 35, said she heard voices and then screams; someone had set fire to the garden of a neighbor’s house. The Iraqi Army arrived and stayed until morning, only to tell them they were not safe there anymore. The Gorgizes took it as a warning — and an indication of complicity, tacit or otherwise, by Iraq’s security forces. “When the army comes and says, ‘We cannot protect you,’ ” Ms. Gorgiz said, “what else can you believe?”

There is no exact accounting of those who have fled internally or abroad. The United Nations has registered more than 1,100 families. A steady flow of Christians to Turkey spiked in November to 243, an official there said.

The Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq offered itself as a haven and pledged to help refugees with housing and jobs. Many of those who fled are wealthy enough to afford rents in Iraqi Kurdistan; others have moved in with relatives; the worst off have ended up at the monastery here and another nearby, St. Matthew’s, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world.

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Yasmine Mousa contributed reporting from Erbil, Iraq, and Sebnem Arsu from Istanbul.

Obama's obsession with settlements proven and dumb

Richard Baehr writes
the mainstream media has been completely silent about one significant revelation from the Wikileaks release- that the Administrations' approach to linkage in the Middle East has had it completely backwards- dealing with the Iranian nuclear program, and their aggressive interference in many areas in the region, was on the minds of all area leaders. That should have been the focus of U.S policy. Instead the Obama team chose to make Israeli West Bank settlements the issue arguing the following:
1. Israel needs to completely halt all "settlement construction" beyond the green line.
2. With that step, the Palestinians and Israelis will meet for fruitful negotiations, and solve all their problems
3. The Arab states will then back the U.S in getting tougher sanctions against Iran.
4. Iran will abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Of course, as for #2, there has been almost no progress in 63 years, but hey, time is not really a factor when we are discussing the Iranian nuclear program, is it? As for sanctions, do they appear to have done the job (#4)? My conclusion is that the two year obsession with settlements reflects something more than a "strategy" for dealing with Iran. Put quite simply, the Obama administration has an obsession with settlements.
Barry Rubin on the same subject:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Israel news

A Three-State Solution? - Chuck Freilich
Israel's preeminent demand has been for an "end to conflict", i.e., to be able to live in security, without further demands, once an agreement has been reached. Hamas, however, will do everything it can to derail an agreement, including attacks on Israel and attempts to delegitimize and topple the PA. If Gaza is not part of the agreement, the conflict will not end.
Talks were to initially focus on the supposedly easier issue of territory which, if resolved, would inherently resolve the settlement issue. In reality, territory is one of the difficult issues. Under the 2000 "Clinton parameters," Arafat rejected an offer of 98-99% of the West Bank. In 2007 Abbas, the purported pragmatist, rejected Olmert's offer of 100% (including a 3.5% land swap). Is there reason to believe that anything has changed?
Rightly or not, the U.S. is perceived in the Arab world today as weak, preoccupied with its domestic problems, lacking in the determination and resources necessary to address the major issues facing the region, such as Iran and Iraq, let alone the intractable peace process. Major progress is unlikely as long as this perception persists. Rather than an imminent two-state-solution, the reality is that a de-facto three-state solution is evolving (Israel, West Bank and Gaza). The ongoing focus on settlements obscures the truth, that until the PA becomes a functioning, united entity, a final breakthrough is not feasible. The writer is a senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School. (Huffington Post)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Richard Baehr-incompentancy of Obama

2. The same cartoon characters who explained "the quantitative easing" (QE2), have now taken but two minutes to display what the latest releases from Wikileaks make pretty evident- that the attempt to link an Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank, to garnering Arab support for pressure on Iran to cease its nuclear program was utterly unnecessary. It turns out that the Arabs were as gung ho as anyone for a U.S or Israeli attack on Iran. This suggests two possibilities- the Obama foreign policy team is incompetent and stupid (a real possibility despite the plethora of advanced degrees obtained from fancy schools) , or that the obsession over Israeli settlements, reflected something different- namely, an obsession over Israeli settlements. That obsession has forced the PA to be even more unwilling than normal to participate in substantive talks with Israel, and hardened their positions on pretty much all issues. After all, the Palestinians can not appear be more pro-Israel than the American are. So what is the explanation for the Obama obsession? I think it is not that hard to explain. Barack Obama was two years removed from the Illinois State Senate, when he decided to run for President. In other words, we are witnessing the amateur hour. But the problem goes deeper. As Ed Lasky explored in many articles on American Thinker in 2007 and 2008,. Barack Obama is a product of having spent most his entire adult life as a community organizer, os studying, teaching or living amidst the academic left in a series of elite schools. Hostility to Israel is a litmus test for professional success, and acceptance in these environs. His buddies in Chicago were radicals on the Middle East- - Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, Ali Abunimah. At heart, Obama is a redistributionist. Whether within the U.S or abroad, he seeks to take from those he perceives as rich and powerful , and provide to those he perceives as poor and weak. In the Middle East, he sees the conflict as Israel, the strong, versus the Palestinians , the weak. His world view ignores that Israel is trying to survive against the efforts and contempt of 21 Arab states and 56 Islamic nations, and the United Nations, and misguided anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic "progressives" all over the western world.
The two minute video:
A longer explanation from David Horovitz:
The Pentagon papers of the Jewish right
Editor's Notes: Exposed by WikiLeaks


Obama, we now know, had the diplomatic cables to prove that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was no obstacle to wide Arab backing for the toughest possible measures against Iran.

After the first meeting between newish President Barack Obama and new Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in May of 2009, I wrote in these pages about the “acutely uncomfortable clash of divergent outlooks” so readily evident at their media conference.

I noted that while the Netanyahu camp had “rushed to talk up a purported meeting of minds over Iran,” it was plain that there was a gulf between the two men on the issue. Specially, I wrote, it had been Netanyahu’s hope that he would persuade Obama of the imperative to halt the Iranian nuclear drive “as a precondition for encouraging Arab moderation and thus enabling progress with the Palestinians, and on this he failed.”

Instead, I pointed out, “Obama insistently placed tackling the Palestinian issue – which has defeated even the most generous and flexible Israeli governments – on the road to fixing Iran.”

While Israel had argued internationally that stopping Iran would enable headway with the Palestinians, and other foreign heads of state, senior ministers and diplomats had politely suggested it was best to try to chivvy both processes along simultaneously, Obama, I observed, “has gone all the way over to the other side, and done so in public.”

I was referring to the president’s assertion, publicly contradicting Netanyahu, that, “If there is a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I personally believe it actually runs the other way. To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians – between the Palestinians and the Israelis – then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.”

In that column and many others since, I have often come back to Obama’s unconvincing assertion that Netanyahu, and much of Israel besides, has the Iran- Palestinian equation wrong. I often noted how illogical it seemed for Obama to argue that there was a good prospect of dramatic progress on the Palestinian front even while Iran, and by extension, Palestinian extremists, were in the ascendant, and how much more room for optimism there would be on the Palestinian front if Iran had been faced down, its nuclear march halted, and relative moderates throughout the region emboldened and empowered.

To my mind, the president’s thinking defied common sense. Now we know, however, that it also defied the concrete information he was receiving from his own diplomats.

THE OBAMA administration, it is now clear for all to see, was not pressing a reluctant Netanyahu to make settlement-freeze and other concessions to the Palestinians in part because it truly believed this would be helpful in generating wider support for tackling Iran.

Not at all. The United States, we now know courtesy of WikiLeaks, was being repeatedly urged by a succession of Arab leaders to smash an Iranian nuclear program they feared would destabilize the entire region and put their regimes at risk. Their priority was, and is, battering Ahmadinejad, not bolstering Abbas.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in 2008, had not urged the US to chivvy those recalcitrant Israelis toward concessions to the Palestinians as a pre-condition for grudging Saudi support for a firmer US-led position against Iran. Anything but. Never mind the Palestinians, the king simply implored Washington to “cut off the head of the [Iranian] snake.”

Likewise, with minor variations in the course of the following year, the rulers of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

We are now starting to hear, courtesy of WikiLeaks, what Jordan and Egypt had to say on the matter too.

Obama, that is, was not the prisoner of a misconception, convinced in absolute good faith that if he could deliver Israeli concessions at the negotiating table he might stand a greater chance of getting the Arabs on board for the battle with the mullahs. No, he had the diplomatic cables to prove that the Israeli- Palestinian conflict was no obstacle to wide Arab backing, indeed wide Arab entreaties, for the toughest possible measures against Iran, emphatically including military action.

Either the president, it can be concluded, was so attached to his misconception that he refused to let the concrete information he had on Arab leaders’ thinking get in the way – sticking to his view of the region in defiance of the facts.

Or, more plausibly, he had internalized full well that he didn’t actually need the cover of a substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace process to generate Arab support for tackling Iran’s nuclear program, but chose to pressure Israel just the same, as a tactic, because he felt Israel was not being sufficiently forthcoming on the Palestinian front.

Neither explanation sits well, to put it mildly.

TELL NETANYAHU – who at the time of their first meeting had yet to endorse the two-state solution, and who is extremely unlikely to repeat the peace offer that Ehud Olmert had spurned by Abbas – that you feel he should be doing more? That’s fair enough.

What’s not fair enough is to indicate to the Israeli prime minister, when it’s patently untrue, that he ought to put aside some of his skepticism and take risks for peace because otherwise Israel might impede the US’s capacity to thwart the genocidal enemy, Iran.

In that May 2009 column, I noted that “If building international, and more specifically regional pressure on Iran is perceived to be contingent on dramatic progress toward resolving our vexed conflict with the Palestinians, the outlook may be bleak indeed. To judge by the fate of Israel’s peace overtures since the early 1990s, the Iranians, one can only fear, would be up to their eyes in enriched uranium before there’s a breakthrough here.”

So now here we are 18 months later. The peace process is deadlocked and Iran is indeed a good deal closer to the bomb. And the Obama administration has been pressing Israel for a second settlement freeze, even though Abbas wasted the last one, even though Netanyahu has demonstrably sought to encourage reconciliation by improving the economic climate on the West Bank, and even though Israel’s uncertainty about its Palestinian partner is magnified every time Fatah derides the legitimacy of a Jewish nation-state or the PA endorses “research” denying Jewish sovereign history here.

Until WikiLeaks, the US was presumably still reminding Israel of its view that the “linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process… runs the other way.”

That the route to thwarting Teheran runs via Jerusalem. That, whatever Israel’s misgivings, it should consider giving ground on the Palestinian front in part because of the demands of the wider struggle against Iran.

What’s the president going to tell Israel now?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How the worm worked

Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions
By Ed Barnes
Published November 26, 2010
An aerial view of Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz.
In the 20th century, this would have been a job for James Bond.
The mission: Infiltrate the highly advanced, securely guarded enemy headquarters where scientists in the clutches of an evil master are secretly building a weapon that can destroy the world. Then render that weapon harmless and escape undetected.
But in the 21st century, Bond doesn't get the call. Instead, the job is handled by a suave and very sophisticated secret computer worm, a jumble of code called Stuxnet, which in the last year has not only crippled Iran's nuclear program but has caused a major rethinking of computer security around the globe.
Intelligence agencies, computer security companies and the nuclear industry have been trying to analyze the worm since it was discovered in June by a Belarus-based company that was doing business in Iran. And what they've all found, says Sean McGurk, the Homeland Security Department's acting director of national cyber security and communications integration, is a “game changer.”
The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Others have called it the first “weaponized” computer virus.
Simply put, Stuxnet is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.
The target was seemingly impenetrable; for security reasons, it lay several stories underground and was not connected to the World Wide Web. And that meant Stuxnet had to act as sort of a computer cruise missile: As it made its passage through a set of unconnected computers, it had to grow and adapt to security measures and other changes until it reached one that could bring it into the nuclear facility.
When it ultimately found its target, it would have to secretly manipulate it until it was so compromised it ceased normal functions.
And finally, after the job was done, the worm would have to destroy itself without leaving a trace.
That is what we are learning happened at Iran's nuclear facilities -- both at Natanz, which houses the centrifuge arrays used for processing uranium into nuclear fuel, and, to a lesser extent, at Bushehr, Iran's nuclear power plant.
At Natanz, for almost 17 months, Stuxnet quietly worked its way into the system and targeted a specific component -- the frequency converters made by the German equipment manufacturer Siemens that regulated the speed of the spinning centrifuges used to create nuclear fuel. The worm then took control of the speed at which the centrifuges spun, making them turn so fast in a quick burst that they would be damaged but not destroyed. And at the same time, the worm masked that change in speed from being discovered at the centrifuges' control panel.
At Bushehr, meanwhile, a second secret set of codes, which Langner called “digital warheads,” targeted the Russian-built power plant's massive steam turbine.
Here's how it worked, according to experts who have examined the worm:
--The nuclear facility in Iran runs an “air gap” security system, meaning it has no connections to the Web, making it secure from outside penetration. Stuxnet was designed and sent into the area around Iran's Natanz nuclear power plant -- just how may never be known -- to infect a number of computers on the assumption that someone working in the plant would take work home on a flash drive, acquire the worm and then bring it back to the plant.
--Once the worm was inside the plant, the next step was to get the computer system there to trust it and allow it into the system. That was accomplished because the worm contained a “digital certificate” stolen from JMicron, a large company in an industrial park in Taiwan. (When the worm was later discovered it quickly replaced the original digital certificate with another certificate, also stolen from another company, Realtek, a few doors down in the same industrial park in Taiwan.)
--Once allowed entry, the worm contained four “Zero Day” elements in its first target, the Windows 7 operating system that controlled the overall operation of the plant. Zero Day elements are rare and extremely valuable vulnerabilities in a computer system that can be exploited only once. Two of the vulnerabilities were known, but the other two had never been discovered. Experts say no hacker would waste Zero Days in that manner.
--After penetrating the Windows 7 operating system, the code then targeted the “frequency converters” that ran the centrifuges. To do that it used specifications from the manufacturers of the converters. One was Vacon, a Finnish Company, and the other Fararo Paya, an Iranian company. What surprises experts at this step is that the Iranian company was so secret that not even the IAEA knew about it.
--The worm also knew that the complex control system that ran the centrifuges was built by Siemens, the German manufacturer, and -- remarkably -- how that system worked as well and how to mask its activities from it.
--Masking itself from the plant's security and other systems, the worm then ordered the centrifuges to rotate extremely fast, and then to slow down precipitously. This damaged the converter, the centrifuges and the bearings, and it corrupted the uranium in the tubes. It also left Iranian nuclear engineers wondering what was wrong, as computer checks showed no malfunctions in the operating system.
Estimates are that this went on for more than a year, leaving the Iranian program in chaos. And as it did, the worm grew and adapted throughout the system. As new worms entered the system, they would meet and adapt and become increasingly sophisticated.
During this time the worms reported back to two servers that had to be run by intelligence agencies, one in Denmark and one in Malaysia. The servers monitored the worms and were shut down once the worm had infiltrated Natanz. Efforts to find those servers since then have yielded no results.
This went on until June of last year, when a Belarusan company working on the Iranian power plant in Beshehr discovered it in one of its machines. It quickly put out a notice on a Web network monitored by computer security experts around the world. Ordinarily these experts would immediately begin tracing the worm and dissecting it, looking for clues about its origin and other details.
But that didn’t happen, because within minutes all the alert sites came under attack and were inoperative for 24 hours.
“I had to use e-mail to send notices but I couldn’t reach everyone. Whoever made the worm had a full day to eliminate all traces of the worm that might lead us them,” Eric Byers, a computer security expert who has examined the Stuxnet. “No hacker could have done that.”
Experts, including inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, say that, despite Iran's claims to the contrary, the worm was successful in its goal: causing confusion among Iran’s nuclear engineers and disabling their nuclear program.
Because of the secrecy surrounding the Iranian program, no one can be certain of the full extent of the damage. But sources inside Iran and elsewhere say that the Iranian centrifuge program has been operating far below its capacity and that the uranium enrichment program had “stagnated” during the time the worm penetrated the underground facility. Only 4,000 of the 9,000 centrifuges Iran was known to have were put into use. Some suspect that is because of the critical need to replace ones that were damaged.

And the limited number of those in use dwindled to an estimated 3,700 as problems engulfed their operation. IAEA inspectors say the sabotage better explains the slowness of the program, which they had earlier attributed to poor equipment manufacturing and management problems. As Iranians struggled with the setbacks, they began searching for signs of sabotage. From inside Iran there have been unconfirmed reports that the head of the plant was fired shortly after the worm wended its way into the system and began creating technical problems, and that some scientists who were suspected of espionage disappeared or were executed. And counter intelligence agents began monitoring all communications between scientists at the site, creating a climate of fear and paranoia.
Iran has adamantly stated that its nuclear program has not been hit by the bug. But in doing so it has backhandedly confirmed that its nuclear facilities were compromised. When Hamid Alipour, head of the nation’s Information Technology Company, announced in September that 30,000 Iranian computers had been hit by the worm but the nuclear facilities were safe, he added that among those hit were the personal computers of the scientists at the nuclear facilities. Experts say that Natanz and Bushehr could not have escaped the worm if it was in their engineers’ computers.
“We brought it into our lab to study it and even with precautions it spread everywhere at incredible speed,” Byres said.
“The worm was designed not to destroy the plants but to make them ineffective. By changing the rotation speeds, the bearings quickly wear out and the equipment has to be replaced and repaired. The speed changes also impact the quality of the uranium processed in the centrifuges creating technical problems that make the plant ineffective,” he explained.
In other words the worm was designed to allow the Iranian program to continue but never succeed, and never to know why.
One additional impact that can be attributed to the worm, according to David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Studies, is that “the lives of the scientists working in the facility have become a living hell because of counter-intelligence agents brought into the plant” to battle the breach. Ironically, even after its discovery, the worm has succeeded in slowing down Iran's reputed effort to build an atomic weapon. And Langer says that the efforts by the Iranians to cleanse Stuxnet from their system “will probably take another year to complete,” and during that time the plant will not be able to function anywhere normally.

Ahmadinejad: Iran's Nuclear Program Hit by Sabotage - Thomas Erdbrink (Washington Post)
Iran's uranium-enrichment program has been the target of sabotage, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday.
"They had been successful in making problems for a limited number of our centrifuges, with software they had installed in electronic devices," he said.

Hanukkah-the real story and Zionism

Hanukkah in a New Light

Manuel Gold

Ask anyone to tell you how Hanukkah began or why we celebrate this =
festival for eight days and they are sure to repeat the story of how =
Syrian Greeks defiled the Temple, and how, after Judah the Maccabee and =
his brothers recaptured and cleansed it, they found a little jar of oil =
that miraculously burned for eight days. "Did that really happen?" you =
probably wondered as you grew older. Most of us quickly suppressed our =
doubts, after all, where would Hanukkah be without that miracle?

In fact, Hanukkah was observed for 600 years before the "jar of oil" =
story made its first appearance in Jewish literature. The Maccabees =
recaptured and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 b.c.e. The =
first mention of the "jar of oil" miracle appears in the Babylonian =
Talmud (Shabbat, 21b), which was written down in its final form about =
500 c.e., 664 years later.

Where did the story of the "jar of oil" come from?

More important, why do we celebrate Hanukkah?

Let us go back to the oldest written sources. Forty-four years after the =
first Hanukkah, two books were written about the Maccabean Wars and the =
rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The First Book of Maccabees
The First Book of Maccabees, compiled some time after 120 b.c.e., was =
probably originally written in Hebrew. Today all we have is an early =
Greek translation. Its intended audience was the Jews of the Land of =
Israel. Chapter 4 describes the recapture of the Jerusalem Temple, its =
purification and rededication.

They also made new sacred vessels, and they brought the lamp stand . =
into the Temple. They burned incense on the altar and lit the lights on =
the lamp stand, and the Temple was filled with light.. For eight days =
they celebrated the dedication of the altar. . Then Judah, his brothers =
and the entire community of Israel decreed that the days of rededication =
of the altar should be celebrated with a festival of joy and gladness at =
this same time every year beginning on the 25th of the month of Kislev =
and lasting for eight days. (First Maccabees 4:49-59)

Astonishingly, this most ancient source does not mention the "little jar =
of oil" miracle. Apparently the author knew of no such story. At the =
time, the miracle was the victory itself, that God had enabled the =
Judeans to overcome the far mightier Syrians. This source leaves us with =
some unanswered questions:

Why did they celebrate for eight days? Why did the celebration become a =
permanent festival (Hanukkah)? Where did the "jar of oil" story =
originate? What was the miracle of Hanukkah for our ancestors? What is =
the miracle for us?

The answers to these questions will unfold as we proceed through the =

The Second Book of Maccabees
The Second Book of Maccabees, compiled at about the same time as First =
Maccabees, covers some of the same period but was originally written in =
Greek and clearly was intended for distribution to the Jewish audience =
outside the land of Israel. That community, whose primary language was =
Greek, was concentrated largely in the bustling commercial Mediterranean =
port city of Alexandria in Egypt-The purpose of Second Maccabees is =
clearly stated in the two letters that precede the book, urging the Jews =
of Alexandria to adopt this new festival, which it appears. they were =
slow to accept. The author claims that his source for the history of the =
Maccabean war was a (now lost) larger five-volume history by one Jason =
of Cyrene. Chapter 10:1-8 of Second Maccabees describes the purification =
of the Temple, adding significant information that is not found in First =

Judah the Maccabee and his men, under the Lord's leadership, recaptured =
the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. . After purifying the Temple, they =
made another altar. Then by striking flint they made a new fire and . =
offered sacrifices and incense . lit the lamps. . On the anniversary of =
the very same day on which the Temple had been defiled, the 25th of =
Kislev, they now purified the Temple. They celebrated joyfully for eight =
days, just as on Sukkot, knowing that (a few months before) on Sukkot =
they had (been unable to celebrate at the Temple) and had spent the =
festival (hiding) like wild animals in the mountains and caves. That is =
why they came carrying stalks wreathed with branches-palm fronds-and =
ripe fruit (the lulav and etrog), and sang hymns of praise (Hallel) to =
Him Who had given them the victory that had brought about the =
purification of His Temple. By a vote of the community they decreed that =
the whole Jewish nation should celebrate these festival days every year. =
(Second Maccabees 10:1-8)

This source also omits any mention of the "jar of oil." Instead, it =
unravels part of the mystery for us. We now can understand what happened =
that first Hanukkah over 2,000 years ago (164 b.c.e.). The festival of =
Sukkot was once probably the most important holiday in the Jewish year, =
especially for Jewish farmers. In Jewish sources it is called =
"HeChag"-"The Holiday." Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were not pilgrimage =
festivals and attained the importance they now have only after the =
destruction of the Second Temple (70 c.e.). On Sukkot, however, vast =
numbers of Jews traveled to Jerusalem to give thanks to God for the =
crops they had just harvested. But they were always more concerned about =
the future than the past, about next year's crops, the grains and fruits =
that would sustain them for another year. On Sukkot, the most important =
prayer was the "Prayer for Rain" (Tefilat Geshem)-rain to soften the =
sun-baked soil so that it could be plowed and prepared for the planting =
of seeds, rain to help the seeds germinate, take root and grow during =
their mild winters. They hoped the rains would taper off in the spring =
when the grains were ripe for harvest. Without rain they were lost. =
Thus, the Temple was usually crowded with worshippers on Sukkot as at no =
other time of the year.

When the Maccabees completed the purification of the Temple, they were =
faced with a problem. A few months before, in Tishri, they had been =
unable to pray for rain in the Temple at Sukkot. Pagans had overrun the =
holy shrine for three years, while the Jewish partisans gathered in the =
hills and caves. Now the Temple was theirs again, and their first act =
was to belatedly celebrate Sukkot two months later in Kislev. Praying =
for rain was so important, that it was "better late than never." They =
carried the lulav and etrog, sang the Hallel Psalms as on any Sukkot, =
celebrating for eight days, the length of Sukkot. They participated in =
the Sukkot torchlight processions during which jars of water were =
carried up to the Temple and symbolically poured out onto the altar as =
part of the ritual for rain. The torchlight procession and large golden =
oil lamps burning in the Temple Courtyard lit up the entire city of =
Jerusalem. (Mishnah Sukkah 5:3)

The first eight-day celebration of the Maccabees was a belated Sukkot =
celebration. The following year, the new Festival of Hanukkah borrowed =
some of the rituals of Sukkot from that first celebration-the eight =
days, the recital of Hallel Psalms, the lights brightly glowing (later =
in every home).

The Name of the Festival
What was this new Festival called?

Second Maccabees (chapter one) begins with a letter dated 124 b.c.e. to =
the Jews of Egypt, asking them to observe the Festival of Sukkot in =
Kislev. "From the Jews of Jerusalem and Judea to our brothers in Egypt. =
'Shalom'. May God bless you . (there follow more blessings and an =
allusion to past historical events) and now we ask you to celebrate =
Sukkot in the month of Kislev." (Second Maccabees 1:1-9)

There follows another letter to the Jews of Egypt (Second Maccabees =
1:10-36), purported to be from Judah the Maccabee himself, written in =
164 b.c.e., before the first anniversary of the rededication of the =
Temple. "Since we are about to celebrate the purification of the Temple =
on the 25th of Kislev; we thought it proper to inform you that you too =
may celebrate this Sukkot (in Kislev)." . (Second Maccabees 1:18)

Both of these letters indicate that, for at least forty years, until 124 =
b.c.e., the new festival was called "Sukkot in Kislev," which supports =
the story in Second Maccabees 10, that the first eight-day celebration =
was indeed a delayed Sukkot.

We now know why Hanukkah lasts for eight days, why Hallel Psalms are =
recited and why lights are kindled. Still missing is the "little jar of =

Megillat Ta'anit
Megillat Ta'anit (The Scroll of Days on which Fasting is Forbidden) was =
written sometime during the first century c.e.-two hundred years after =
the Maccabean purification of the Temple. All the holidays on this list, =
most of which commemorate Maccabean victories, have disappeared except =
for two: Hanukkah and Purim. "On the 25th Day of Kislev, Hanukkah =
(begins)-eight days-mourning is forbidden." This is the first occurrence =
of the name "Hanukkah' ("Dedication") for the Maccabean Festival of =
Purification. Other people still called it "Lights." Its original =
connection to a delayed Sukkot seems to have been forgotten. Yet there =
is still no mention of the "little jar of oil."

Antiquities of the Jews
Antiquities of the Jews was completed by Josephus around 94 c.e., 258 =
years after the purification of the Temple. In this history of the =
Jewish people he writes:

So much pleasure did (the Jews) find in the renewal of their customs and =
in unexpectedly obtaining the right to conduct their own service after =
so long a time, that they made a law that their descendants should =
celebrate the restoration of the temple service for eight days. And from =
that time to the present, we observe this festival, which we call the =
festival of lights, giving this name to it, I think, from the fact that =
the right to worship appeared to us at a time when we hardly dared hope =
for it." (Antiquities XII, Loeb Classical Library edition, Volume 7, p. =

Josephus is not sure why the festival is called "Lights," is unclear =
about its exact original nature, and clearly omits any story about a =
"little jar of oil."

Two Prayers
Two ancient prayers, which are recited on Hanukkah, also contain no =
reference to the miracle of a "little jar of oil."

a) "Al Hanissim" (see Gates of Prayer, The New Union Prayer Book, p. 45) =
declares that the miracle of Hanukkah was God's enabling the weak, =
outnumbered righteous to prevail over their powerful evil enemy.

b) "Hanerot Hallalu" (see Gates of Prayer, p. 644) affirms the wonders =
God performed in delivering our ancestors.

Neither of these prayers contains mention of the "little jar of oil." =
The "miracle" of Hanukkah for all these sources is the unexpected =
victory against a mightier foe.

Hanukkah-A Haircut and a Bath
A story is related in the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah, 18b) about an event =
that occurred sometime during the last years or the first century c.e. =
"Once the residents of Lydda declared a fast on Hanukkah. Rabbi Eliezer =
(ben Hyrcanus) returned there and bathed. Rabbi Joshua (ben Hananiah) =
also returned and had his hair cut. (Bathing and haircutting were =
forbidden on fast days.) (Later) they said to the residents (of Lydda). =
"Go now and fast in atonement for having fasted (on Hanukkah)!"

This remarkable passage reveals that some Jews, after the destruction of =
the Temple in 70 c.e., were opposed to the celebration of Hanukkah =
(hence the declaration of a fast), most likely because Hanukkah =
represented the "activist" approach to dealing with one's opponents, =
whether Syria or Rome. The residents of Lydda wanted to play down the =
implied message of Hanukkah and the Maccabees-that, at times, opposition =
to foreign rule is justified, and may even succeed with God's help. =
Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua, both opponents of Rome, and leaders of =
the Academy at Lydda, by their own example (bathing and cutting the =
hair) declared their opposition to the "passivists" who sought to =
eliminate Hanukkah and accept Roman rule. The "activist" approach later =
reached its peak at the time of Rabbi Akiba during the Bar Kochba =
revolt. Activism versus passivism, opposition versus accommodation-these =
two diametrically opposed methods of dealing with hostile foreign =
domination were to divide Jews for the next two thousand years. At =
certain times and in certain places one view would dominate. The =
"activist" could even at times be a "pacifist," employing non-violent =
opposition against an autocratic governing power.

The "passivist" was afraid that even non-violent opposition could bring =
down the wrath of the autocrat, and so almost always sought the road to =
accommodation at any cost.

From the fifth century in Palestine and Babylonia, one or the other of =
these views dominated. The Jews of Palestine, for a variety of reasons, =
continued to find a large number of proponents of activism among the =
population. Often this took the form of subtle literary derogation of =
the oppressor. The Jews of Babylonia, on the other hand, perhaps because =
the ruling authorities often gave them the right to self government, =
mostly favored accommodation-passivism, "the law of the land is the law" =
("deena de'malchuta, deena").

For the Jews of Babylonia, Hanukkah and the story of the victorious =
struggle presented a problem. They feared that their young people would =
be influenced by the model of the Maccabees and become "activist" =
opponents of authority. It was not possible to eliminate Hanukkah; it =
had become firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of the people. But =
the miracle of the Hanukkah story could be changed from one of =
miraculous victory against overwhelming odds, to a miraculous story of a =
"little jar of oil."

Babylonian Talmud: Why Hanukkah?
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat (21b) (Completed around 500 c.e.)

Why Hanukkah? Our rabbis taught: (in Megillat Ta'anit) "On the 25th day =
of Kislev begin the eight days of Hanukkah on which eulogies (mourning) =
and fasting are forbidden." For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they =
defiled all the oil; and when the Hasmoneans prevailed and defeated =
them, they searched and found only one jar of oil with the official seal =
of the High Priest, but which was only enough for one day's lighting; =
yet a miracle occurred, and they lit the lamp with it for eight days. =
The following year these days were decreed a festival with the recital =
of Hallel Psalms and thanksgiving.

The real question of this text is not "why do we celebrate Hanukkah?" =
but rather "on the authority of what miracle are we permitted to recite =
Hallel Psalms on Hanukkah, a custom usually reserved for biblical, =
God-ordained festivals?" The answer given is the miraculous "jar of =
oil," borrowed from some other tradition or invented for the occasion. =
It served its purpose well. The miracle was now not the victory of =
"activism" but of a "little jar of oil." This successfully defused many =
a budding activist from going astray. "Passivist" peaceful accommodation =
would be preserved.

However, this story was not accepted by Jews everywhere. In Palestine =
300 years later, with its long history of "activism," another =
explanation was given, offering authority for the recital of Hallel.

Palestinian Midrash: Why Hanukkah?
Pesikta Rabbati (Palestinian Midrash completed in the year 847 c.e.)

Why are lights kindled on Hanukkah? When the sons of the Hasmonean High =
Priest were victorious over the Kingdom of Greece-(as predicted) in the =
verse (Zechariah 9:13), "the men of Zion will fight the men of =
Greece"-upon entering the Temple they found eight iron rods (spears?), =
which they thrust (into the ground) and kindled lights in them. And on =
what authority is Hallel recited? Because (one of the Hallel Psalms) =
states "The Lord God has given us light." (Psalm 118:27)

The author is not at all embarrassed by the activism of the Maccabees. =
In fact he even assumes that the Hasmoneans were originally High =
Priests, which is not otherwise confirmed. For this Palestinian, writing =
350 years after the Babylonian story of the jar of oil was "published," =
the authority for reciting Hallel is not the miraculous oil, but rather =
the authority of God, as predicted by two verses from the Bible.

For the next thousand or more years Jews in dire straits in different =
parts of the world usually chose the "passivist" route to accommodation =
and survival. There were many notable exceptions. Now, we are becoming =
more aware of the many Jewish uprisings during the Holocaust.

The State of Israel, this modern miracle, would not have been created if =
not for the return, beginning in the 19th century, of Zionism and its =
restoration of "activism" as a valid Jewish option.

Israel greets WikiLeaks cables as vindication of its Iran policy

Israel greets WikiLeaks cables as vindication of its Iran policy

By Joshua Mitnick

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The latest "document dump" is a coup for Jewish State, giving proof that her Arab neighbors, even those that are sworn enemies, share concerns |

JEL AVIV — (TCSM) Wikileaks' publication of US diplomatic cables could have sparked a fresh controversy between Israel and its most important ally after a year of strained relations.

But instead, Wikileaks' release of the documents on Sunday has proved to be something of a public relations coup for Israel: on-the-record confirmation that its Arab neighbors are just as frightened as the Jewish state by a nuclear Iran. The cables confirmed previous anonymous reports that Israel has quiet partners in the region pushing the US to take bolder steps to stop what they consider an existential threat.

"I don't see any damage. Quite the opposite,'' said Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, in an interview with Israel Radio. "Maybe there's an indirect benefit that the truth is coming out, that the entire Middle East, including Arab states, are very fearful from the Iranian nuclear threat, and are calling on the West to be much more aggressive toward Iran.''

Analysts and officials pointed to candid assessments from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt that Iran posed the biggest strategic threat to regional stability. The assessments even stressed the need for considering conventional attacks on Tehran before its nuclear program becomes operational. Other officials pointed to a US diplomatic report in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is compared to Adolf Hitler.

The revelation of regional support for Israel's hard-line approach to Iran was seen as such a boon that Sever Plocker, a columnist for the daily Yediot Ahronot newspaper, quipped, "If the WikiLeaks site did not exist, Israel would have to invent it.''

"The massive leak of American diplomatic telegrams indicates a single picture, sharp and clear," he added. "The entire world, not just Israel, is panicked over the Iranian nuclear program.''

New details about Israel's Iran strategy and relations with Arab neighbors — such as Mossad chief Meir Dagan's plan for regime change in Iran, and repeated Israeli warnings about Tehran's looming nuclear weapons program — were played down by analysts and officials as unsurprising.

But beyond the momentary public relations dividend, one Israeli veteran of diplomacy said the widespread fear of Iran among America's Arab allies does not bode well for the Obama administration's foreign policy — particularly its efforts to engage Iran diplomatically.

"When Obama decided on negotiating with Iran, he was doing exactly the opposite of what the American allies are thinking,'' says Shlomo Avineri, a political science professor at Hebrew University and a former director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "Obama has made all of his friends nervous, and the Iranians are spitting in his face."

Other observers said the publication of classified US communiques weakens the international standing of Israel's most important ally — a trend that could hamper Arab-Israeli peace mediation efforts and ultimately weaken Israel, which relies heavily on the diplomatic and military weight of the United States.

"The superpower looks weakened,'' says Alon Liel, a former director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "The fact that the US doesn't look good especially in the Middle East … lowers the chances for Israel to become an integral part of the region.'

J Street organizers are anti-Israel

s not really surprising that J Street co-founder Daniel Levy thinks that Israel’s creation was wrong.

And it’s kind of predictable that JStreet’s new Israel campus organizer Drew Cohen would (a) harbor some really ugly antipathy toward the Jewish State and (b) commit to getting other American Jews to embrace his antipathy. This pattern is in line with the rest of JStreetU, which finally had to drop even the pretense of pro-Israel advocacy because it meshed poorly with their “genocidal anti-Jewish terrorists equal Israeli Jewish victims” moral equivocation.

J Street’s pretty pleased with Cohen’s appointment – see below for the full email he’s passing around on the organization’s behalf – which is kind of weird for a “pro-Israel” organization, given how he’s proud of being an anti-Israel ideologue:

* Here’s him explaining that he “sees his role” as deliberately altering the emphasis that American Jews place on Israeli security concerns, since it’s futile to “wait patiently for Israel to come around.” Elsewhere here’s him indicating that American Jews need to be shown “the truth of what is going on” in Israeli civil society, and no he doesn’t mean “truth” in a positive “let’s tell people about how the Jewish State is a Middle East beacon of human rights” sense.

* Here’s him explaining that he can’t be comfortable unless he’s “with people who I am certain do not espouse Zionism or any form of oppression.”

* Here’s him condemning Operation Cast Lead, an Israeli defensive campaign supported by the far leftwing Meretz party and understood by Egypt and the Arab League, as an “unjust and even criminal” act by which he was “shocked and appalled at the mass destruction.”

* Here’s him snidely passing on a description of Israel’s Gaza Flotilla interdiction, a last-ditch passive option forced by Israel’s having been denied forward defense and active defense, as “a heinous brutality.”

* Here’s him minimizing the danger posed by that Flotilla, which would have detonated Israel’s last chance of blocking Iran’s Gaza proxy, due to it being merely a “mythic threat.”

* Here’s him insisting that Jews who want to reverse Jordan’s gleeful 1948 ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter “are engaged in structural violence against the Palestinian people.”

* Here’s him musing over the “parallels between the issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Israeli-Palestinian security barrier” and here’s him rhetorically leveling ghettos and Bethlehem.

There were no Arab Palestinians there

Pleasure Trip in the Holy Land, and it was written by Samuel Langhorne
Clemens (AKA Mark Twain). In 1867 he traveled the length and breadth of
Israel. He did not see here not Palestinians, not overflowing gardens,
not Arab villages, not bustling cities. Nothing. He saw and describes
desolation, swamps, cholera, malaria, sand dunes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Israel loses in game theory negotiation strategy

Israel's Conflict as Game Theory
By Prof. Yisrael Aumann
Nobel Prize Laureate
Two men-let us call them Rick and Steve- are put in a small room containing
a suitcase filled with bills totaling $100,000. The owner of the suitcase
announces the following:"I will give you the money in the suitcase under one
condition:you have to negotiate an agreement on how to divide it. That is
the only way I will agree to give you the money."
Rick is a rational person and realizes the golden opportunity that has
fallen his way. He turns to Steve with the obvious suggestion: "You take
half and I'll take half, that way each of us will have $50,000."
To his surprise, Steve frowns at him and says, in a tone that leaves no room
for doubt: "Look here, I don't know what your plans are for the money, but I
don't intend to leave this room with less than $90,000. If you accept that,
fine. If not, we can both go home without any of the money."
Rick can hardly believe his ears. "What has happened to Steve" he asks
himself. "Why should he get 90% of the money and I just 10%?" He decides to
try to convince Steve to accept his view. "Let's be logical," he urges him,
"We are in the same situation, we both want the money. Let's divide the
money equally and both of us will profit."
Steve, however, doesn't seem perturbed by his friend's logic. He listens
attentively, but when Rick is finished he says, even more emphatically than
before: "90-10 or nothing. That is my last offer."
Rick's face turns red with anger. He is about to punch Steve in the nose,
but he steps back. He realizes that Steve is not going to relent, and that
the only way he can leave the room with any money is to give in to him. He
straightens his clothes, takes $10,000 from the suitcase, shakes Steve's
hand and leaves the room humiliated.
This case is called 'The Blackmailer's Paradox" in game theory. The paradox
is that Rick the rational is forced to behave irrationally by definition, in
order to achieve maximum results in the face of the situation that has
evolved. What brings about this bizarre outcome is the fact Steve is sure of
himself and doesn't flinch when making his exorbitant demand. This convinces
Rick that he must give in so as to make the best of the situation.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict
The relationship between Israel and the Arab countries is conducted along
the lines of this paradox. At each stage of negotiation, the Arabs present
impossible, unacceptable starting positions. They act sure of themselves and
as if they totally believe in what they are asking for, and make it clear to
Israel that there is no chance of their backing down.
Invariably, Israel agrees to their blackmailing demands because otherwise
she will leave the room empty handed. The most blatant example of this is
the negotiations with Syria that have been taking place with different
levels of negotiators for years. The Syrians made sure that it was clear
from the beginning that they would not compromise on one millimeter of the
Golan Heights.
The Israeli side, eager to have a peace agreement with Syria, internalized
the Syrian position so well, that the Israeli public is sure that the
starting point for future negotiations with Syria has to include complete
withdrawal from the Golan Heights, this despite its critical strategic
importance in ensuring secure borders for Israel.
The Losing Solution
According to game theory, Israel has to change certain basic perceptions in
order to improve her chances in the negotiations game with the Arabs and win
the long term political struggle:
a. Willingness to forego agreements
Israel's political stand is based on the principle that agreements must be
reached with the Arabs at any price, that the lack of agreements is
untenable. In the Blackmailer's Paradox, Rick's behavior is the result of
his feeling that he must leave the room with some money, no matter how
little. Because Rick cannot imagine himself leaving the room with empty
hands, he is easy prey for Steve, and ends up leaving with a certain amount
of money, but in the role of the humiliated loser. This is similar to the
way Israel handles negotiations, her mental state making her unable to
reject suggestions that do not advance her interests.
b. Taking repetition into account
Game theory relates to onetime situations differently than to situations
that repeat themselves. A situation that repeats itself over any length of
time, creates, paradoxically, strategic parity that leads to cooperation
between the opposing sides. This cooperation occurs when both sides realize
that the game is going to repeat itself, and that since they must weigh the
influence present moves will have on future games, there is a balancing
factor at play.
Rick saw his problem as a onetime event, and behaved accordingly. Had he
told Steve instead that he would not forego the amount he deserves even if
he sustains a total loss, he would have changed the game results for an
indefinite period. It is probably true that he would still have left the
game empty handed, but at the next meeting with Steve, the latter would
remember Rick's original suggestion and would try to reach a compromise.
That is how Israel has to behave, looking at the long term in order to
improve her position in future negotiations, even if it means continuing a
state of war and fore going an agreement.
c. Faith in your opinions
Another element that crates the "Blackmailer's Paradox" is the unwavering
belief of one side in its opinion. Steve exemplifies that. This faith gives
a contender inner confidence in his cause at the start and eventually
convinces his rival as well. The result is that the opposing side wants to
reach an agreement, even at the expense of irrational surrender that is
considerably distanced from his opening position.

Several years ago, I spoke to a senior officer who claimed that Israel must
withdraw from the Golan Heights in the framework of a peace treaty, because
the Golan is holy land to the Syrians and they will never give it up. I
explained to him that first the Syrians convinced themselves that the Golan
is holy land to them, and then proceeded to convince you as well. The
Syrians' unflinching belief that they are in the right convinces us to give
in to their dictates. The only solution to that is for us to believe
unwaveringly in the righteousness of our cause. Only complete faith in our
demands can succeed in convincing our Syrian opponent to take our opinion
into account.
As in all of science, game theory does not take sides in moral and value
judgments. It analyzes strategically the behavior of opposing sides in a
game they play against one another. The State of Israel is in the midst of
one such game opposite its enemies. As in every game, the Arab-Israeli game
involves interests that create the framework of the game and its rules.
Sadly, Israel ignores the basic principles of game theory. If Israel would
be wise enough to behave according to those principles, her political status
and de facto, her security status, would improve substantially.
Copyright Yisrael Aumann

Moderate lies of Palestinians

PA Study on Jerusalem's Western Wall a "Moderate" Outrage - Editorial (New York Post)

* The PA's information ministry this week released an official "study" declaring that the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City - revered for 2,000 years as one of Judaism's holiest sites - isn't Jewish at all. In fact, claims the report by a senior ministry official, it is nothing more than the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and has only been a worship site for Jews since World War I - and then, only because of "Muslim tolerance."
* This, it should be noted, isn't coming from Hamas. It emanates from the same "moderate" Palestinians whom President Obama and the rest of the world embrace, make concessions to, and trust with Israel's long-term security. What is contemptible is that those efforts increasingly are being endorsed by the world at large.
* Last month, UNESCO endorsed the PA's demands that Rachel's Tomb outside of Bethlehem - long revered as a Jewish site of worship - not only be removed from Israel's declared historic sites but actually be declared a mosque. Not even Yasser Arafat ever made such a claim until 1996 - and even then, without a shred of historic evidence.
* UNESCO also declared that Israel cannot claim the Cave of the Patriarchs, the traditional burial site of the biblical forebears of the Jewish nation, as a national heritage site.
* The whole point of this ongoing exercise is to erase any Jewish connection with the biblical Land of Israel - with an eye toward negating the modern state of Israel's existence.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nov 30 buy israeli good day

The BIG day-November 30th-- is approaching fast!
On Tuesday, November 30, anti-Israel activists in New York City plan to demonstrate and call for boycotts of stores that sell Israeli products. Their target is Ricky's because it carries Ahava goods. But this action in New York is just one of many. Boycotters have been energetically lobbying other stores across the country to drop Israeli products, from local co-ops to Costco and Trader Joe's.

The pro-Israel, pro-peace community urges you to join a counter campaign. We are making November 30 a BIG (Buy Israeli Goods) Day. Let us show the world that calls for boycotts of even one or two stores will always be met with a much larger counter-movement to buy Israeli goods.

StandWithUs and the America-Israel Chambers of Commerce calls on schools, college campuses, synagogues, community organizations, and individuals to designate Tuesday, November 30, as the day to actively Buy Israeli Goods. Go to your local stores and request Israeli products. Whenever a boycott is called, respond by purchasing the very Israeli goods that are being targeted and let store managers know they should keep them well-stocked on the shelves.

The holiday season is fast approaching. When you go holiday shopping, choose presents from the wonderful array of Israeli-made items, from fine Israeli wines to the high quality Ahava beauty products, Israeli jewelry, shoes and clothing lines, and of course, food. Select Sabra or Tribe hummus, great Israeli wines and Osem cookies to grace your holiday party.

We must defeat the boycotters who advocate destructive instead of constructive measures, who undermine hopes for peaceful co-existence, and whose only goal is to defame, cripple and damage Israel.

We can defeat them if we join together. The very date, November 30th, should encourage us. It comes the day after the 63rd anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution when the effort, against all odds, to restore the Jewish State was endorsed and recognized by the international community. It also comes just as Hannukah is approaching, when we celebrate the Maccabees, who also restored Jewish independence, and who where a few who triumphed over the many. We can do the same, and shine a light on Israel for all people of good will.

On November 30th, go shopping for Israel no matter where you live. Buy for Israel. Buy for peace. Be a big part of this BIG (Buy Israeli Goods) Day.

Shop with friends, and please take pictures or videos of yourself purchasing Israeli products, and send them to us. Make fun entries for youtube, make them positive, fun, and/or funny. Email your photos or links to your videos to .
Visit this website: --- The website includes a locator so that you can find stores in your area that carry Israeli products. The BIG campaign is a partnership between StandWithUs and the America-Israel Chambers of Commerce and like-minded organizations.

good temporary news on Iran's nuks

Iran's Nuclear Program Reportedly Struggling - Glenn Kessler
Iran's nuclear program has experienced serious problems, including unexplained fluctuations in the performance of the thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium, leading to a temporary shutdown. Speculation immediately centered on the Stuxnet worm, a computer virus that some researchers say was designed to target Iran's centrifuge machines so that they spin out of control.
Olli Heinonen, a former top IAEA official, said Monday that 3,772 centrifuges at the Natanz facility were being fed uranium gas and 5,084 machines were idle. "This indicates that there is a problem," he said. (Washington Post)


Jewish Holy Sites in Israel to become Mosques
By Julie Stahl
CBN News Reporter
Sunday, November 21, 2010
7 Comment(s)

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- A United Nations organization has released a statement declaring two biblical sites in Israel to be mosques.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron were an "integral" part of what it called "occupied Palestine."

"UNESCO is not scientific society. There's a vote of countries to decide designations of different places," former Israeli U.N. ambassador Dore Gold said.

The declaration comes despite historic evidence that Biblical forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs along with their wives.

The site of Rachel's Tomb is believed to be the burial place of the biblical matriarch Rachel, the favored wife of Jacob. Approximately 750,000 mostly Jewish and Christian pilgrims visit and pray at the tomb every year.

Still, Islamic authorities have insisted Jews have no history in either place.

"He read a verse from the Koran saying that Abraham he never been a Jew. He was a Muslim, pure Muslim according to the Koran," one Muslim man said.

Jews are pigs?

British Muslim Schools Teach Saudi Hatred of Jews and Israelis

by Chana Ya'ar
Follow Israel news on Twitter and Facebook.

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news program, Panorama, reported Monday night that children in Britain are being taught in a Saudi national curriculum on the weekends to hate Jews, Israelis and homosexuals.

The textbooks being used to teach some 5,000 Muslim children Shari'a law in 40 weekend schools are reportedly using the Saudi Arabia national curriculum. According to the segment "British Schools Muslim Rules," children as young as six years old are being taught that those who do not believe in Islam die in “hellfire.”

Students are asked by one of the textbooks to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews, the program reports...

The textbooks include content claiming that some Jews are transformed into pigs and apes, and that Zionists want to establish world domination by Jews.

Jews have no right to Western Wall, PA 'study' says

Jews have no right to Western Wall, PA 'study' says
11/22/2010 18:07

‘Muslim tolerance allowed the Jews to stand in front of it and weep,’ says Information Ministry official.
Talkbacks (65)

The Western Wall belongs to Muslims and is an integral part of Al-Aksa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif (the Islamic term for the Temple Mount complex, meaning the Noble Sanctuary), according to an official paper published on Monday by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information in Ramallah.

The paper, which has been presented as a “study,” was prepared by Al-Mutawakel Taha, a senior official with the ministry, to “refute” Jews’ claims to the Western Wall.

PA slams NIS 85 million Kotel development project
'Abbas didn't agree to let Israel control Kotel'

In the past, PA leaders and officials have also denied Jewish rights to the Wall, insisting that the Temple Mount never stood in the area.

The new document claims that the Western Wall, or Al- Buraq Wall, as it is known to Muslims, constitutes Waqf property owned by an Algerian- Moroccan Muslim family.

It claims there isn’t one stone in the wall that belongs to the era of King Solomon.

The “study” also contends that the path next to the Western Wall was never a public road, but was established only for the use of Muslims living in the area or making their way toward the mosques on the Temple Mount.