Saturday, February 12, 2011

French PM calls for stronger sanctions on Iran

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon called in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for stronger sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

“In Istanbul, in January, Iran opposed our renewed proposal for serious dialogue over its nuclear programme,” Fillon said aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle off the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

“To convince Iran to return to the negotiating table, we’ll have to strengthen sanctions,” he told military personnel on the French navy’s flagship which is holding joint exercises with the Saudi military.

On Friday, a Western diplomat said in Washington that the world’s major powers would consider tougher, non-UN measures against Iran to include financial as well as oil and gas sanctions.

Read more

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hebron: we're running a Marathon

In previous years the race was confined to Jewish areas in Hebron. But the 3rd Hebron Run will pass, for the first time, inside Hebron itself.

The race is supported by the Israeli Ministry of Sports and the State of Israel.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

US: NASA rocket to bear name of Egyptian woman killed in anti-govt protests

Cairo, 10 Feb. (AKI) - The United States space agency NASA has okayed the naming of one of its spaceships after a young Egyptian woman killed in late January during an anti-goverment protest, according to Egyptian daily Al-Masry-al-Youm.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Egypt’s Uprising May Reignite Iran’s Green Movement

(Forbes - 9 Feb 2011)

Feb. 11 marks the 32nd anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran. The uprising had a broad base — communists, liberal democrats and Islamists all played a role. But in the end, well-organized religious forces prevailed, and Aytatollah Khomeini and a succession of clerics became Iran’s supreme leaders.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Terrorists Without Borders


It is amusing to watch CNN and the BBC and hear all of the talk about “freedom” coming to Egypt, particularly when the Muslim Brotherhood — one of the main future beneficiaries of a revolution — is presented as a “peaceful conservative religious organization.”

In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood is not just your run-of-the-mill fundamentalist organization; it is the mother of all Islamist fundamentalist organizations, the one from which all others have sprung.

Read more

Hezbollah building up its arms stockpile: Israel

BEIRUT: Israel’s deputy prime minister Tuesday became the latest high-profile Israeli official to accuse Hezbollah of violating international law by increasing its alleged stockpile of arms.

Silvan Shalom, addressing a security conference attended by Israeli ministers, military officials and university professors, warned that Hezbollah was seeking nothing less than total control over Lebanon. “Hezbollah is not only a terrorist organization; they are going to take control of the whole country,” Shalom told conference attendees.

He added the party, “which first ran in the [Lebanese] Parliament saying that they didn’t want to take a lot [of power] in Lebanon,” now has “full control.”

“These days they control the army, the security forces, the police: everything that is needed,” Shalom said.

Read More (Daily Star-Lebanon)

Iran's Minister survives air crash

City of Maku

TEHRAN, Feb 8 (KUNA) -- An Iranian helicopter carrying 15 persons including Minister of Housing and Urban Development Ali Nikzad crashed in Maku in West Azarbaijan province, said press reports here on Tuesday.
The accident took place on Tuesday and resulted in no casualties, Mehr news reported citing IRNA.

Bahrain cyber-activists urge 'revolt'

DUBAI (AFP) - A Facebook page urging "revolt" in Bahrain replicating similar calls elsewhere in the Arab world had by Tuesday amassed more than 6,000 "likes" on the social networking site.

"This is your chance to open the door for political and standard of living reforms, especially with the changes going on now in the Middle East. We will all chant 'The people want to reform the regime' on February 14, a post said.

Read more

Monday, February 07, 2011

Obama: U.S. would recognize sovereignty of South Sudan in July

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama congratulated south Sudan on Monday for a referendum to declare its independence and said the United States would recognize it as a sovereign country from July.

Israel to honor memory of Khojali tragedy

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 7 / Trend T. Hajiyev /

The memorial day of the Khojali genocide will be held in Israel on Feb. 24 in connection with the 19th anniversary of the tragedy, the Azerbaijani State Committee on Work with Diaspora reported.

The event will be organized by the Israel-Azerbaijan International Association and Committee of the Azerbaijani diaspora acting at it. It will be attended by Knesset members, leaders of political and social organizations, representatives of municipal authorities, and heads of embassies and diplomatic missions accredited in Israel.

Association President Joseph Chagall and political analyst Aryeh Gut will make a speech at the ceremony. The guests will be presented a documentary on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Armenian military forces committed genocide in Khojaly on Feb. 26, 1992. More than 600 people were killed, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old men. A total of 1,000 civilians were disabled during the genocide. Eight families were annihilated, 130 children lost one parent, and 25 lost both. Additionally, 1,275 peaceful residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 remains unknown.


Top Jordan website offline; security service blamed

Jordan's most popular news website, Ammonnews, accused the security services on Monday of taking it offline after it published a statement that denounced "a crisis of authority" in the kingdom.

"Ammonnews was completely hacked and closed down. Only the Jordanian security services have the technical capacity to do this," chief editor Basel Okoor told AFP.

The real spectre that is looming on Israel

Calcutta, India, February 7 , 2011

The wadi or streambed between the northern Israeli villages of Zarit and Shtula is eerily quiet. A vast expanse of Lebanese territory, mostly rocky heights with a sprinkling of olive trees, lies on the other side of an Israeli border fence across the road from this streambed which is devoid of even a drop of water at this time.

It was in this wadi that Hezbollah militants, who scaled the border fence, hid for several days before they ambushed and made away with Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev to Aita al-Shaab, a nearby Lebanese village which was dotted with tobacco plantations and pomegranate, lemon or fig orchards and had 11,000 residents at that time.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

News of Egypt unrest spreads in N. Korea via cell phones

The situation in Egypt has gotten North Korean authorities nervous, as the communist country has about 350,000 mobile phones in use and information on the outside world is rapidly spreading into the North via China.

Iranian Warships Arrive At Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

A twelfth group of Iranian warships carrying the Islamic republic's message of peace and friendship has entered the Saudi port of Jeddah.

“A group of warships belonging to the Iranian Navy, which has been sailing across the high seas, has entered the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia with the aim of promoting friendly relations and sending the message of peace and friendship to regional countries,” said Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari on Sunday.

“The group of vessels is comprised of Iranian-made warship 'Khark' and destroyer 'Alvand',” the top commander was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Navy.

He expressed hope Iran would be a messenger of peace and friendship for the regional nations by sending its warships to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea as well as to ports in friendly and Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia.

The top commander underlined the Iranian Navy is set to safeguard the country's national interests and, at the same time, carry a message of peace and security for the 'sensitive and strategic' region of the north Indian Ocean by maintaining its powerful presence in the high seas.

It is noteworthy that a host of Iranian Navy cadets are accompanying the warships as part of their scientific-training program.

Deal signed to supply Iran fuel to Afghanistan

Subtitle: Pecunia Non Olet

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran said on Sunday it has reached an agreement with Afghanistan to supply it with Iranian fuel and that it has started delivering the products to the neighbour's private sector.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Saudi women protest, web activists call for reform

Arab Women, painting by James LeGros

(Reuters) - About 40 women staged a rare demonstration in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday, demanding the release of prisoners held without a trial as part of the kingdom's efforts to fight al Qaeda insurgents, activists said.

Read more

Bahrain: police arrest 127 males in gay party raid


Bahraini police raided a gay party in Manama and arrested 127 mainly homosexuals from the Gulf countries.

The fee-paying party described as "depraved and decadent" by the Bahraini police was organized on Wednesday and brought gay men mainly from GCC countries.

Read more

Leadership of Egypt's ruling party resigns

CAIRO -- The top leadership body of Egypt's ruling party resigned Saturday, including the president's son, but the regime appeared to be digging in its heels, calculating that it can ride out street demonstrations and keep President Hosni Mubarak in office.

The ruling party leaders who resigned included the country's most powerful political figures - and its most unpopular among many Egyptians. The move may have been aimed at convincing protesters in the streets that the regime is sincere in implementing democratic reforms they demand.

Read more

Van which ploughed into Cairo protesters 'might belong to U.S. embassy,' admits State Department

A van which ploughed into crowds of anti-government protesters in Cairo earlier this week might be a diplomatic van owned by America, U.S. officials said today.

They said 20 of the vans had been stolen during a week of upheaval.

The van charge was filmed and posted on YouTube where there have been more than 620,000 views.

The driver seems to be deliberately ramming the vehicle into demonstrators in streets around Cairo's Tahrir Square and their bodies are flung into the air.

Read more

UK: Antisemitic incidents still at record high

Antisemitic incidents have reached the second highest level since records began, according to annual figures released by the Community Security Trust.

The CST confirmed that 639 incidents were reported in 2010, a 31 per cent fall from 2009’s record high of 926, caused by antisemitic reactions to the Gaza conflict in January of that year.

Read more

Merkel against Obama: "Asking for immediate elections in Egypt is a mistake"


Chancellor Angela Merkel implicitly criticizes American president Barak Obama, who calls for the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately and to hold new elections.

Egypt tells Iran: mind your own business

CAIRO -(AP)- Egypt's foreign minister has told Iran to mind its own business after Iran's top leader praised the Egyptian uprising as an appropriate response to dictatorial rule.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters Saturday that Iran's Ali Khamenei seems to have forgotten about the crushing of widespread protests in Iran two years ago.

Read more

Palestinian students in Scotland bloc lecture of Lieberman's aide

EDINBURGH -- More than one hundred Palestinian students gathered in the University of Edinburgh in Scotland on Friday to protest a lecture that was to be delivered by an aide to Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The students succeeded in blocking the lecture by Ismail Khaled, the civil advisor to Lieberman, describing him as "traitor" who sold himself to the Israeli occupation.

Police rushed to the scene of the event and escorted Khaled away from the lecture hall amidst anti-Israel slogans.

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Protests outside Ahava in Covent Garden, London (05.02.2011)

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Egypt: Gas Pipeline Blast Blamed On Saboteurs

Huge flames billowed from a pipeline supplying gas from Egypt to Israel near the Gaza Strip on Saturday after an explosion which officials blame on saboteurs. Gas supplies to Israel and Jordan have been cut.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Iran says Stuxnet claims need investigating

(Reuters - 4 Feb. 2011) - Iran should investigate claims that the Stuxnet computer virus has caused major harm to its first nuclear power station, a senior official said Friday after suggestions the plant could become a "new Chernobyl."

Israel Agrees to Steps to Improve Palestinian Life

(Bloomberg) - The measures include reviving talks with the Palestinian Authority on the development of a gas field off Hamas-controlled Gaza, and the building of a new power station and desalination plants there, Blair said in a statement on Netanyahu’s website.

Egypt: Unrest could trigger economic collapse says former UN secretary general Boutros Boutros Ghali

(AKI) - The current revolt against president Hosni Mubarak in Egypt - the most populous country in the region - could cause the economy to collapse, former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali told Adnkronos International (AKI) in an interview.

"A country like Egypt which is facing a population explosion cannot withstand the current situation," said Boutros Ghali.

A member of Egypt's minority Coptic Christian community and an academic, he served as the sixth UN secretary general from 1992-1996 during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the Rwandan genocide and other world crises.

"The rift on the streets between those who were happy with the president's last speech (announcing he would not stand for re-election in September) and those who believe he should go now, risk sparking a devastating economic crisis," Boutros Ghali said.

Yemen police open fire to disperse protest; 3 hurt

Witnesses say police have opened fire to break up an anti-government protest in Yemen, and security officials say one protester has been critically wounded.

It was not immediately clear whether the police were using live ammunition or rubber bullets.

The security officials say two others demonstrators were also wounded in the eastern town of Mukalla, but no details were immediately available.

Read more

When cars fly

Or even better: Israel, where cars fly!

A Yavne-based company has produced a compact aircraft that can fly close to the ground and will hopefully be used by the military some day. Yes, sort of like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The future is here.

Read more (Haaretz)

Gaza feeds hungry Egyptian troops

GAZA Feb 4 (Reuters) - Egyptian soldiers isolated on the Gaza border by 10 days of internal upheaval are getting bread, canned goods and other food supplies from the enclave, which is usually on the receiving end of food aid. A source in the border town of Rafah said security forces of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, had been providing the troops with supplies for the past three days.

The Crisis in Egypt: What Would Reagan Do?

We are telling Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the man who helped bring peace to the Middle East, to leave power, to go. And why are we saying this? Well, because he is bad for his people. There is corruption and poverty.

Well then, why didn't we tell him to go last year? Why now? Because there is a mob in the street and it is likely that they represent a majority?

So if we do the same and show public opinion is against President Barack Obama, and by public opinion polls show that this represents a majority, will Obama leave? Of course not. That is not democracy. Nor is it freedom. Not in American and not in Egypt either.

Egypt: Thousands Join 'Day Of Departure' Demo

Demonstrators are on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria to call for Egypt's embattled leader Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately.

The president of 30 years has said he will remain in control until September, when he will not stand for re-election.

Read more

This Week in History: Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran

(From the Jerusalem Post)
Since the Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to Iran and the subsequent completion of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the country continued to distance itself from the West. Internally, it has become more religiously conservative and radical in its positions (domestically and internationally). Additionally, from tactics employed in the near-decade-long war with Iraq, Khomeini is often credited with legitimizing suicide bombing as an honorable form of martyrdom.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Syria: the calm before the storm

A boy plays with a ball in an alley of the old city of Damascus, Syria (Getty Images)

Calls for protests in Syria are spreading on social media websites, following popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Organisers say protests will be staged in front of the parliament in the capital, Damascus, on Friday and Saturday, and at Syrian embassies across the world. Several pages have been set up on Facebook, with the most popular one, named "The Syrian Revolution", "liked" by about 13,000 people by Thursday. Read more

Muslim Brotherhood has unveiled its plans to scrap peace treaty with Israel if it comes to power

Rashad al-Bayoumi said the peace treaty with Israel will be abolished after a provisional government is formed by the movement and other Egypt's opposition parties.

"After President Mubarak steps down and a provisional government is formed, there is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel," al-Bayoumi said.

Read more

Blocking Internet Cost Egypt at Least $90M, Says OECD

The Egyptian government's five-day block of Internet services cost the national economy at least US$90 million, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Thursday.

The Paris-based organization said telecommunications and Internet services account for between 3 percent and 4 percent of Egypt's GDP, so the daily loss amounted to around US$18 million.

Read more

Obama should just shut up on Egypt

by Richard Cohen
When it comes to crises like the one in Egypt, the trouble with the White House is structural. It has a briefing room. (So does State.) When you have such a room, the pressure is to have a briefing. That means saying something -- almost anything in the present case -- when prudence, history and the gods of mythology cry out for silence. The Obama administration ought to just shut up.

Venturegeeks will incubate startups in Israel

Geekmedia, the company that operates Israeli technology blog, is getting into the startup incubation business with a new program called Venturegeeks.

Based in Tel Aviv, Venturegeeks sounds like it will be structured similarly to well-known US incubator programs like Y Combinator. Startups accepted into the program will receive $20,000, as well as three months of mentorship and office space, in return for a 10 percent stake in the company.

Read more

Israel vs Mubarak: Fairness is the name of the game

Getty Images
"No matter what they say," Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Jan. 31, "we owe Mubarak true gratitude for being as steadfast as a rock and for working towards peace and stability in the Middle East."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Tomb of Prophet Zechariah found?

Feb. 2, 2011 -- Israeli archaeologists unveiled on Wednesday the remnants of a newly discovered Byzantine-era church they suspect is concealing the tomb of the biblical prophet Zechariah.

The church, with intricate and well-preserved mosaic floors, was discovered on the slopes of the Judaean hills at Horbat Midras, the site of a Jewish community in Roman times, southwest of Jerusalem.

Underneath is a second layer of mosaics dating from the Roman period, with a cave complex still further below which archaeologists think could be Zechariah's tomb.

US might respond militarily if Suez Canal is closed, US commander says

The United States would respond "diplomatically, economically, militarily" to any closure of the Suez Canal, although such an event seems inconceivable, the head of US Central Command said on Tuesday.

General James Mattis, who oversees US military operations in an area stretching from Egypt to Pakistan, also said the US had no plans to order its military forces into the region because of instability in North Africa.

Read more

Palestinians expect a stronger Egypt to weaken Israeli hand

Palestinians are likely to benefit from a change of regime in Egypt, irrespective of whether they are in the camp of those seeking peace with Israel or those who advocate conflict, analysts said yesterday.
A more independent and assertive Egypt, reflecting popular opinion rather than US policy, will create pressure on Israel and Washington to make the compromises necessary for a long-overdue Middle East peace treaty, they said.
Whether they live in the occupied West Bank, whose leaders want a treaty with Israel, or in the blockaded Gaza Strip, whose leaders reject the Zionist state, Israel is the dominant factor overshadowing Palestinian lives.
West Bank and Gaza leaders have avoided speculating on the probable outcome in Egypt’s power struggle or its implications for Palestinians and the wider Arab world. But a few officials and political thinkers are ready to make predictions.
“The new situation in Egypt could lead to a change in world powers that upsets Israel and forces it to compromise. Egypt will get stronger,” said senior peace negotiator Nabil Shaath.

Hamas fears Gaza protests

GAZA, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Palestinian leaders in Gaza and West Bank fear the protests in Egypt will spark a similar uprisings in the territories, officials said.

Thousands of people have joined a Facebook group calling on Palestinians in Gaza to demonstrate Friday against Hamas, Haaretz reported.

Another Facebook group called for protests against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the newspaper said.

(Read more)

Iran Arms Shipment May Deal Setback to Expansion of Africa Ties

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- A political wrangle over an Iranian arms shipment seized in Nigeria has set back the Persian Gulf nation’s efforts to cultivate links in Africa as it seeks to forestall diplomatic isolation over its nuclear program. A United Nations team arrived in Nigeria Jan. 16 to probe the consignment of rockets, grenades and mortar shells that may have been destined for Gambia or Senegal in West Africa. Gambia cut ties with Iran in November and ordered its diplomats out of the country over the shipment. A month later, Senegal recalled its ambassador, citing “grave concern” about the weapons. (Read more)

Jimmy Carter sued for five million dollars over falsehoods in 'Palestine' book

Washington - Feb 2 : Former United States President Jimmy Carter is facing a five million dollar-plus lawsuit over his book 'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid', which was published by 'Simon and Schuster' in November 2006.

The case filed by a group of disgruntled readers in the Manhattan federal court claims that the book "is filled with demonstrable falsehoods, omissions and knowing misrepresentations intended to promote Carter's agenda of anti-Israel propaganda".


Suriname recognizes Palestinian state

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Republic of Suriname on Tuesday became the latest South American country to recognize a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, Palestinian Authority Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Al-Malki said.
Surinamese President Desi Bouterse sent a letter to his PA counterpart Mahmoud Abbas via the Palestinian ambassador in Brazil, Al-Malki said. SOURCE
How does one recognize something that does not exist?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Report: Special commando units free Hizbullah members from Egyptian jail

Lebanese sources claim that a commando composed of Lebanon's Hizbullah, Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Palestine's Hamas fighters stormed into the Egyptian prison of Wadi El-Natron, which is located some 120 kilometers northwest of Cairo. The task was to free several thousand prisoners, and especially leaders and members of the "Muslim Brotherhood" and activists of Hizbullah who were detained on charges of planning terrorist operations last year.

The sources said that the fighters entered Egypt across the Sudanese border. They exploited the security chaos in Egypt amid the popular revolt against the Mubarak regime. SOURCE