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Germany: Israel Accepted Prisoner Swap with Hamas (AP-San Francisco Chronicle)
On Monday, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert confirmed that Israel had accepted a proposal by a German mediator to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas-linked militants in Gaza five years ago, but that "so far, Hamas regrettably has not yet accepted this proposal."
Israel Upset with Jordan over Condemnation of Jerusalem's Old City Renovation - Danna Harman (Ha'aretz)
Israel's ambassador to UNESCO Nimrod Barkan said Monday that Israel is shocked that Jordan had led a successful effort within the international body to condemn Israel over renovations planned for the Mughrabi Gate Bridge in Jerusalem's Old City - after signing an agreement with Israel to allow the work to go ahead.
"The Jordanians lied in a way that cannot be believed, both to us and to the Americans," Barkan said.
Israel Trumps the Arab World (The Peninsula-Qatar)
A comparative study of Arab nations and Israel on "Scientific Research and Patent Rights Compared," by Palestinian researcher Dr. Khalid Said Rubaia, found that Israel has registered 16,805 patents, while Arab countries have only 836 patents - 5% percent of what Israel has.
Israel spends 4.7% of its total GDP on scientific research, the highest in the world, while Arab states spend 0.2%.
On per capita spending on scientific research, Israel is number one with $1,272.8. The U.S. is second with $1,205.9 and Japan third with $1,153.3.
The Arab countries spend an average of $14.7 annually per capita.
The oil-rich Asian Arab countries spend $11.9 per capita.
Promised Land Awaits 7,500 Mizo Jews in India (Times of India)
At least 7,500 Mizo Jews from Mizoram and Manipur will migrate to Israel, which they refer to as their Promised Land, this year.
"Preparations for a mass migration to the Promised Land are on. The lost tribes from the northeast will go to Israel in the later half of this year after their peers from South America migrate to that country," said Jeremiah Hnamte, one of the leaders of the Aizawl-based Bnei Menashe.
Zaithanchhungi, a Mizo researcher, said the Bnei Menashe had once migrated to the two northeastern Indian states after traveling through China and were still following the Jewish culture and traditions in many ways.
In 2005, Israel's Chief Rabbinate officially recognized the Bnei Menashe as descendants of Israel. About 1,700 Bnei Menashe have migrated to Israel so far.
Shalem Gin, 20, who immigrated to Israel from Mizoram in 1995, has become the first person from his community to be an officer in the Israel Defense Forces.
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- Iran Unveils Missile Silos as It Begins War Games - William J. Broad
Iranian state television on Monday broadcast images of silos deep underground, saying they held medium- and long-range missiles ready to hit distant targets. The report showed footage of an underground launching pad for the Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of about 1,250 miles.
Col. Asghar Qelichkhani said the missiles were permanently in the vertical position and "ready to hit the predetermined targets." Last year, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London reported "emerging evidence" of Iranian silos that could fire missiles at Iraq, Israel, Turkey and countries throughout the Persian Gulf. The commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Aerospace Force, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said with these installations "we are certain that we can confront unequal enemies and defend the Islamic Republic of Iran."
(New York Times)
See also Iran Tests 14 Surface-to-Surface Missiles in War Games (Press TV-Iran)
- International Criminal Court Issues Warrant for Libyan Leader's Arrest - Colum Lynch
Judges from the International Criminal Court on Monday issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, his son, and a top military intelligence chief, calling for them to stand trial for crimes against humanity in connection with a violent crackdown on antigovernment protesters. They are accused of killing and persecuting hundreds of Libyan civilians since the government began suppressing public protests Feb. 15.
In issuing the ruling, Judge Sanji Monageng of Botswana said there was sufficient evidence to believe that the three Libyans have committed the crimes and that their arrest was necessary to ensure they appear before the Hague-based court and to prevent them from continuing further crimes.
See also Indicting Gaddafi: Why They Aren't Trembling in Tripoli - Editorial
The indictments serve as a way for the international community to pretend to do something without having to get its hands dirty stopping genocides or other crimes against humanity. Thus Sudan's Omar al-Bashir resides comfortably in Khartoum more than two years after his first indictment by the court. No word yet on whether the Gaddafis plan to turn themselves in.
(Wall Street Journal)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Some Flotilla Activists Seek to Harm Israeli Soldiers - Barak Ravid
Senior officials in Jerusalem said Monday that Israel has received information that organizers of the Gaza flotilla may be bringing chemical substances on the ships to use against Israeli soldiers.
They also said several extremists among the participants had recently claimed that they intend on "shedding the blood of IDF soldiers."
Moreover, despite earlier reports, activists from the Turkish organization IHH will be joining several of the ships sailing for Gaza.
- Israeli Who Accidentally Entered Palestinian Village Nearly Lynched - Omri Ephraim
Nir Nachshon was on his way home when a GPS device mistake caused him to mistakenly enter the Palestinian village of Issawiya in east Jerusalem Sunday night.
Speaking from his hospital bed, he said, "Just as I made the turn, I figured out that I made a mistake, but I didn't realize how big the issue was. This is Jerusalem. This is home."
"Immediately when I made the turn a 12-year-old boy started screaming 'Jew, Jew.' Each time he called out dozens more people arrived." That is when they started throwing rocks and cement blocks into the car.
"All I could see was murder in their eyes. I felt my life would be over at any minute."
Nir then described how his life was saved: "Someone came out of nowhere and tried to rescue me from the people; there was screaming but he managed to get me to his house." The rescuers were one of the village's muhtars and his sons, who took him to a police patrol car waiting outside the village.
- Palestinian Terror Cell Planned Attacks in Jerusalem - Anshel Pfeffer
Israeli security forces have arrested a terror cell belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which planned to carry out terror attacks in the Jerusalem area and to abduct an Israeli soldier, it was revealed Monday.
- The Floating Gaza Strip Show - Editorial
Anti-Israel activists are launching a fresh high-seas publicity stunt. Freedom Flotilla II is a public-relations exploit in the guise of a humanitarian relief effort. Conditions in Gaza are far from the crisis activists would have the world believe. The people aren't starving, and they don't want for basic medical care. Two luxury hotels reportedly will open soon in Gaza, along with a new multilevel shopping mall.
Life expectancy in Gaza is 74, seven years above the world average and higher than in Egypt, India or Russia. Infant mortality is less than half the world average.
- Hizbullah and Syria: Who Abandoned Who? - Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid
Today Hizbullah's enemies have multiplied to the extent that Israel is now the least of their worries. More than half of the Lebanese people are against Hizbullah, while most Arabs are against them as well, and Syria seems to have abandoned them or at least distanced themselves.
The majority of Sunnis in Lebanon view Hizbullah with suspicion, or indeed hatred, because they believe that Hizbullah was responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as well as for occupying areas of Beirut three years ago. In addition, at least half the Christian population of Lebanon oppose Hizbullah, demanding that it give up its arms, fearing that Hizbullah wants to establish an Islamic republic along the lines of Iran.
Syria has been Hizbullah's neighbor, ally, and protector for over 30 years. However, the popular uprising is witnessing demonstrators openly chanting anti-Hizbullah slogans and accusing the group of supporting the al-Assad regime in suppressing the demonstrators.
Hizbullah's seeking to dominate Lebanon by force will be confronted and face severe challenges in the forthcoming stage. Hizbullah's pretext of confronting Israel has been removed since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon 11 years ago. Since then, Hizbullah has transformed into an organization that serves Iran's interests. Syria seems to have given up playing the role of custodian and ally to Hizbullah, even before the situation in Damascus is resolved. (Asharq Alawsat-UK)
- How Arab Media View a Declaration of Palestinian Statehood - Linda Menuhin Abdul Aziz
Unlike the vibrant debate in Israel over the Palestinian plan to seek support for statehood in September in the UN General Assembly, the Arab media is occupied with the wave of changes sweeping Arab countries, leaving little room for discussion of the projected Palestinian plan.
The Arab media predicts that a declaration of statehood by the Palestinians would not result in any immediate changes on the ground. Any Palestinian state would lack sovereignty and authority, with borders dictated by certain facts - the security fence, the settlements, and Israeli control of Jerusalem, as well as continued economic dependence on Israel.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Libya: The Lost War - Amitai Etzioni
Despite the fact that I predict that the stalemate in the U.S.-led intervention in Libya will not last, and Gaddafi will either be killed or quit, there are several strong reasons to conclude that the mission has already failed, including, of course, that it is still ongoing.
For one thing, the leaders of Iran cannot but conclude that a nation that gives up its program of obtaining of WMDs - as Gaddafi's Libya did - is much more vulnerable to Western intervention than a nation that succeeds in acquiring them, as North Korea did.
At the same time, the U.S., already mired in three wars in the Muslim world and desperately looking for ways to cut its deficit, has shown that it would rather have others doing the intervening and has no stomach for another war. (National Interest)
Why Alice Walker Shouldn't Sail to Gaza - Howard Jacobson (CNN)
Gaza is under siege, Israelis will tell you, because weapons are fired from it into Israel, threatening the lives of Israeli children. If the blockade is lifted there is a fear that more lethal and far-reaching weapons will be acquired, and the lives of more Israeli children endangered.
- The boat on which Alice Walker will be traveling will be carrying, she tells us, "Letters expressing solidarity and love." Solidarity is a political term implying commonality of interest or aspiration. So what interest or aspiration does Alice Walker and her fellow travelers share with the people of Gaza? A longing to live in peace? Is the firing of rockets from Gaza an expression of such a longing? And what about the declared hostility of Hamas to the very existence of Israel?
- Hamas, we are often told, is the elected government of Gaza, a government that fairly represents the wishes of its people. In which case we must assume that Hamas' implacable hostility towards Israel fairly represents the implacable hostility felt by the people of Gaza. Are Alice Walker's letters of love and solidarity solid with the people of Gaza in that hostility?
The writer is a British Jewish author and journalist.
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