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Israel Says Hamas Operating Command-Post in Turkey, Money-Laundering in China - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas has established a command post in Turkey that it uses to recruit new operatives and oversee some of its operations in the Middle East, the Israel Security Agency revealed on Wednesday.
Hamas' presence in Turkey came up during the investigation into the 13 terrorist cells that were recently discovered operating in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Israeli officials said Hamas operations in China were financial and included money laundering and procurement of equipment.
U.S: Hamas Must Release Abducted Israeli Soldier Unconditionally (Ha'aretz)
Hamas must immediately and unconditionally release abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said on Wednesday following a meeting with Shalit's father.
Man Gets 25 Years in Plot to Blow Up Jewish Targets in New York - Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times)
A federal court judge gave a 25-year sentence Wednesday to Laguerre Payen, convicted of plotting to blow up Jewish targets and shoot U.S. military planes out of the sky with what he thought were explosives and Stinger missiles.
Three other defendants were sentenced last June to 25 years to life in prison, after they were arrested outside a New York City synagogue in the spring of 2009.
Prosecutors said the men were driven by a desire to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed in the war in Afghanistan.
Saudi Writers: The Secret to Israel's Success (MEMRI)
On June 7, 2011, two Saudi columnists - the liberal Khalaf Al-Harbi, of the Saudi daily 'Okaz, and Fawaz Al-'Ilmi, of the Saudi daily Al-Watan - published articles comparing Israel's situation to that of the Arab countries.
Al-Harbi opined that the secret to Israel's success lay in its democratic regime and its respect for the human rights of its citizens, while Al-'Ilmi wrote that Israel's prosperity was due to its investment in education and science.
Such articles are a rare phenomenon in the Saudi government press.
PA TV Honors Jailed Terrorists - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
Palestinian Authority TV has chosen to honor two more terrorists serving multiple life sentences for murder in its continuous glorification of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi drove a suicide bomber to the Sbarro pizza shop in Jerusalem in August 2001. 15 people were murdered in the attack, 7 of them children. Muhammad Wael Daghlas planned the attack and sent the suicide bomber, and is currently serving 15 life sentences.
The PA TV program "In a Fighter's Home" visited the home of Daghlas' family. During the visit, the PA TV host sent special greetings and praise to Ahlam Tamimi as well.
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- Gaddafi's Chemical Weapons and Anti-Aircraft Missiles Spark Renewed Worries - Simon Denyer
Documents showing the shipment of thousands of gas masks and chemical-weapons protection suits to Moammar Gaddafi's remaining strongholds in the last weeks of his regime raised fresh concerns Wednesday about whether the deposed Libyan leader's forces could still have access to deadly mustard gas. 11.25 tons of the poison gas was still in Libya when the uprising against Gaddafi began in February, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
At one warehouse opposite a military camp in Tripoli, thousands of surface-to-air missiles and mortar shells lay on the ground. Some of the missiles were SA-24s, which have a range of up to 11,000 feet and can bring down civilian planes, said Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch. (Washington Post)
See also Heat-Seeking Missiles Are Missing from Libyan Arms Stockpile - Rod Nordland and C.J. Chivers
Shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles that could be used by terrorists to shoot down civilian airliners are missing from unguarded warehouses in Tripoli and may have been stolen by rebels, criminals or smugglers. These missiles, mostly SA-7b Grails, were sold to Gaddafi's government by former Eastern bloc countries. President Obama's top counterterrorism official, John Brennan, said the spread of shoulder-fired missiles and other weapons from Libya's arsenal posed "a lot of concern." (New York Times)
- Away from UN Debate, Palestinian West Bank Town Is On Edge - Tom Perry
The scene of heavy fighting in 2002 during the last Intifada, the West Bank Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin today challenges the picture of prosperity under the Palestinian Authority. Residents say occasional bursts of gunfire in its narrow streets are an economic indicator as telling as any.
Plans by the PA leadership to press a claim to statehood at the UN in September offer something to talk about, but little more. Locals say small groups of masked men have reappeared in the streets, reviving memories of lawless armed gangs that roamed here during the last Intifada. Community leaders recently appealed for an end to displays of arms by masked men.
- Desertions Show Unease Growing in Syrian Army - William Maclean
A flurry of desertions from Syria's military shows unease among the mostly Sunni Muslim rank-and-file over its repression of unrest. The total number of defections from the army stands at about 700 since the uprising began in March, according to estimates by some Syria experts, but the army's overall clout seems unaffected. (Reuters)
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- Israel Foils Suicide Bomber Attack in Jerusalem, Arrests Dozens of Hamas Terrorists - Anshel Pfeffer
The Israel Security Agency foiled a suicide terrorist attack set to occur on August 21 in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood in Jerusalem, it emerged Wednesday. An explosive belt was seized only 24 hours before the planned attack, after it was already smuggled into Jerusalem. Dozens of Hamas militants operating in 13 separate cells were arrested.
The main cell based in Hebron was in touch with Hamas headquarters in Syria.
The same cell was responsible for the March 23 attack at a bus station in Jerusalem where a British tourist was killed and 47 other people were injured. (Ha'aretz)
See also Hamas Working to Boost Military Capabilities in West Bank - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
- U.S. Officially Asks PA to Abandon UN Recognition Plan - Khaled Abu Toameh
The U.S. on Wednesday officially asked the Palestinian Authority to abandon its plan to ask the UN later this month to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.
The request was relayed to PA President Mahmoud Abbas by U.S. envoy David Hale during a meeting in Ramallah, Palestinian officials said. Hale told Abbas that Washington wants to see the Palestinians return to the negotiating table with Israel.
- Israeli Vice Premier Addresses Tensions with Turkey - Aviel Magnezi
Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon, who was involved in efforts to bring about reconciliation between Turkey and Israel after the flotilla incident, said Wednesday that since the Erdogan "government rose to power, Turkey has decided to turn east instead of west. Turkey turned into an Islamic republic from a secular republic." "How can you trust a government that consorts with Iran and Hamas?"
"What happened during the flotilla was without a doubt a Turkish provocation....We had no intention of ending the incident with fatalities, but the soldiers had no other choice but to defend themselves....Israel is not at fault for the situation with Turkey."
- Erdogan's Dhimmi Problem - Emmanuel Navon
Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan was raised as a Sufi Muslim and was imprisoned in 1998 for singing out loud that "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers." While mainstream Western media are at pains to describe Turkey's Islamist AKP Party as "moderate," Erdogan himself declared on Kanal D TV in August 2007 that describing Islam as moderate "is offensive and an insult to our religion." Erdogan has been embracing the presidents of Iran and Sudan.
(For the Sake of Zion)
- UN Vote for Palestine Hurts Peace - Steve Huntley
The Palestinians' ill-conceived bid for a unilateral declaration of statehood at the United Nations is an irresponsible maneuver that would undermine the negotiations with Israel that are the only hope for a lasting settlement, alienate the U.S. government and perhaps foment a new outbreak of violence and blood-letting.
The U.S. and the EU must stand firm against the Palestinian maneuver.
In 1947, the UN came up with a two-state plan to partition the Holy Land into a new Arab nation and a Jewish homeland. Israel said yes, the Arab world said no and went to war to push the Israelis into the sea. As recently as 10 days ago, President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian Authority would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state - saying no to a two-state solution. A UN vote for Palestinian statehood would be an egregious insult to the pursuit of peace and to the universal values of human rights. (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Palestine Goes the Unilateral Route - George Jonas
When Mahmoud Abbas and other PA leaders propose a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) to the UN later this month, their purpose won't be to legitimize a Palestinian state but to de-legitimize a Jewish one. On Nov. 29, 1947, UN Resolution 181 recommended the termination of the British mandate in Palestine and the partitioning of its territory into two states, one Arab, the other Jewish. The partition plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency and rejected by the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine. On May 14, 1948, Israel declared statehood, and within hours five Arab armies invaded it.
Palestinian statehood hasn't been at issue for 64 years. The UN voted for it in 1947 and the Jews said yes. Ever since then the contentious issue has been Jewish statehood, not Palestinian. Nothing stood in the way of implementing Palestinian nationhood but those Arab leaders who rejected Jewish nationhood from the outset and continue to this day. The countries that rejected Palestinian statehood by voting against partition came overwhelmingly from the Arab/Muslim world. If the Palestinians don't have a state today, it's because their kissing cousins would rather see them without a home than see Jews with a roof over their heads.
What Do the Arabs of East Jerusalem Really Want? - David Pollock (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- According to face-to-face surveys conducted according to the highest international standards, more Palestinians in east Jerusalem would prefer to become citizens of Israel rather than citizens of a new Palestinian state. In addition, 40% said they would probably or definitely move in order to live under Israeli rather than Palestinian rule.
- 44% of the Palestinians in Jerusalem say they are very, or at least somewhat, satisfied with their standard of living. This is a very high percentage compared to other populations in the Arab world. Only about 30% sympathize with either Fatah or Hamas or with the Israeli Arab Islamic movement. Politics is not a major preoccupation.
- Three-quarters of east Jerusalem Arabs are at least a little concerned, and more than half are more than a little concerned, that they would lose their ability to write and speak freely if they became citizens of a Palestinian state rather than remaining under Israeli control.
- Significantly, 41% thought that the armed conflict probably or definitely would continue even after a peace agreement, and this is from the most moderate population of Palestinians. Only a third say that a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence backed by the UN would have a positive effect on their lives. Two-thirds say that such a unilateral step would have no positive effect.
- For people who tend to assume that a fair and practical solution for the Jerusalem issue is for the Arab neighborhoods to become part of Palestine and the Jewish neighborhoods to become part of Israel, these findings suggest that this could be somewhat problematic from the point of view of the people who actually live in east Jerusalem.
The writer is the former chief of Near East/South Asia/Africa research at the U.S. Information Agency and a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
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