Israeli-Made Processor Responsible for 40 Percent of Intel's 2011 Sales - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
The Intel Sandy Bridge processor, developed in Israel, was responsible for 40% of Intel's sales worldwide in 2011.
Intel has invested $3 billion in preparing its Kiryat Gat facility to manufacture the new 22-nanometer Ivy Bridge processor.
Intel Israel had $2.2 billion in exports in 2011.
How Iranians View Their Future - Yehuda Shohat (Ynet News)
Phone calls made in recent days by Yediot Ahronot to several Iranian citizens revealed a fascinating picture of the enemy state that hides behind the scary rhetoric of the leaders from Tehran.
The Iranians we spoke with said that in recent weeks the local currency depreciated dramatically, the prices of goods skyrocketed, and inflation has spun out of control.
When Razi, the owner of a textile store in Tehran, is told of the recent Israeli Facebook campaign under the "We Love Iran" banner, he laughs. "I would do a similar campaign. I love Israel," he says. "However, I have this slight concern that 10 minutes after my first post goes online, you'll find me hanging upside down from a city crane."
Khatem, a real estate professional, says, "They can keep talking about Big Satan and Little Satan, yet aside from the religious fanatics, everyone looks up to the West. We want to be like in America, but wake up into a nightmare every morning."
Iranians believe that anti-government protests will renew in full force after Syria's Bashar Assad will be toppled. "Once Assad falls, the ground here will start to shake as well," says Razi.
Amir lives with his family in Isfahan, not far from one of Iran's uranium enrichment sites.
He says that many Iranians aspire to be like Americans, and view Jews as true potential partners. "The problem starts and ends at the top, with our leaders," he says.
"I can tell you with certainty, as one who hates the regime and wants it to fall, that the sanctions most certainly work."
Poll: Egyptians Sour on U.S., Eye Closer Ties to Turkey, Iran - Ahmed Younis and Mohamed Younis (Gallup)
The majority of Egyptians (56%) now see closer relations with the U.S. as a bad thing for their country, up sharply from 40% in December 2011.
28% say closer relations are a good thing, fewer than say the same thing about Turkey (60%).
Although Egyptians are split, 41% to 38%, on the benefit of closer relations with Iran, a clear majority (58%) disapprove of its leadership. This is slightly lower than the 65% who disapprove of the U.S. leadership.
Nearly half of Egyptians (48%) surveyed in February said the Israel peace treaty is a good thing, compared to 42% who said it was a bad thing.
Gallup finds supporters of Islamist parties are no more likely than others to oppose the peace treaty with Israel.
New Campaign to Raise IDF Soldiers' Awareness of Abduction - Amir Rapaport (Israel Defense)
The IDF is about to start an extensive advertising campaign to raise awareness among soldiers about the dangers of terror organization abductions.
The terror organizations are attempting to implement abductions in order to fill Gilad Shalit's place in captivity. Several attempts to abduct soldiers in the area of the Northern Command have occurred since Shalit's return to Israel.
In November 2012, Military Police began to increase preventative measures, including simulated abduction attempts, to raise soldiers' awareness.
"Every day, there are undercover teams looking for soldiers stopping to hitch rides," Lt. Col. Nir Golan explained.
Lies about How Jerusalem Runs Washington - Aaron David Miller (Foreign Policy)
The idea that American Jews in collusion with the Israeli government hold U.S. foreign policy hostage coexists with other hateful and anti-Semitic canards about how Jews control the media, the banks, and the world as well.
The U.S.-Israel relationship is a curious marriage of shared values, national interests, and domestic politics. Shared values as a fellow democracy, more than anything else, is the foundation of the bond. Since 1950, only 22 countries have maintained their democratic character continuously - and Israel is one of them.
That millions of Americans have powerful religious connections to Israel and the Holy Land has only made the bond stronger.
Human Rights Activists Sexually Harassed in West Bank - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
Testimonies obtained by Ha'aretz tell of a wide phenomenon of sexual harassment and assault of Israeli and foreign protesters in the West Bank.
Recently, a special forum was started by a group of women for the purpose of dealing with and monitoring such incidents.
Protests in Bil'in and Sheikh Jarrah have become points of pilgrimage for activists, but at the same time, complaints of sexual harassment by Palestinians started to emerge.
One activist, who in the past used to frequent the protests in the West Bank but no longer participates, told Ha'aretz, "Two years ago we had a meeting of women who took part in the struggle...and disturbing things were brought up. Nearly all the women that attended told of cases of harassment or discrimination."
Sony to Invest in Israeli Medical Technologies - Gali Weinreb and Shmulik Shelach (Globes)
The Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony is actively seeking to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Israeli medical technologies and has established a team to review the Israeli market to seek out companies for investment or acquisition.
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- UN Rights Body Launches Probe into Israeli Settlements - Stephanie Nebehay
The UN Human Rights Council launched an international investigation on Thursday into Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories at the initiative of the Palestinian Authority.
The forum voted to launch a probe with 36 states in favor, including China and Russia, one against (the U.S.), and 10 abstained, including EU members Italy and Spain. The text was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and co-sponsored by states including Cuba and Venezuela.
See also Israel Condemns UN Decision to Probe Settlements
Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Thursday after the UN Human Rights Council voted to investigate Israeli settlements in the West Bank:
"This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel. This council ought to be ashamed of itself. Until today, the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran."
On Thursday the council approved four other resolutions critical of Israel.
See also Israel Won't Cooperate with UN Probe of Settlements - Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff
Israel's Foreign Ministry called the resolution "yet another surrealistic decision" from the council that is more interested in promoting a one-sided political agenda than in human rights.
"While all over the Middle East human rights are violated on an unprecedented scale, the HRC ridicules itself by dedicating its time and resources to establish a superfluous and extravagant body whose sole purpose is to satisfy the Palestinians' whims and to harm future chances to reach an agreement through peaceful means. The Palestinians must understand that they cannot have it both ways: they cannot enjoy cooperation with Israel and at the same time initiate political clashes in international forums."
The Goldstone Commission in 2009 that accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza originated through a similar decision by the Human Rights Council. Israel did not cooperate with that committee. A government official said Israel would not "cooperate with a kangaroo court."
- Israel Says Threat of Strike on Iran Is Working
The threat of a military strike on Iran is preventing the Islamic republic from taking the final steps towards developing a nuclear bomb, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday.
"We are seeing with our own eyes the reason why Iran, which really wants to achieve a military nuclear capability, is not taking some of the steps defined by the IAEA as breaking the rules, why it is not breaking out," he said. "One of the reasons is the fear of what will happen if, God forbid, the United States or maybe someone else acts against them." (AFP)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Air Force, Intelligence Succeeded Against Gaza Terror - Yaakov Lappin
Close cooperation between the air force, the IDF's Southern Command, and the intelligence services led to one successful strike after another against Gazan terrorist targets during the recent round of violence, the Southern Command said on Thursday. Islamic Jihad, which led the firing of rockets, and Hamas are more deterred by the IDF now than before the escalation.
A senior officer from the Gaza Division said the relatively low casualty rate among Palestinian noncombatants was made possible by surgical strikes on rocket-launching crews that were carefully assessed beforehand. The officer said that decision-makers "thought twice before every attack" to ensure civilian safety. The officer described the damage sustained by Islamic Jihad as "significant." Those behind the rockets were hit on many occasions, he said.
- Israel to Transfer Fuel to Gaza Power Plant - Elior Levy
Israel will transfer 450,000 liters of diesel fuel to Gaza on Friday to alleviate a grave fuel shortage. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed that the Palestinian Authority would pay for the fuel. In recent years, Hamas has received diesel fuel through smuggling tunnels from Egypt, but Egypt has put a stop to this in recent months.
- Egypt and Hamas: The Honeymoon that Wasn't - Mohammed Najib
The high hopes Gaza's Hamas leaders had in the Egyptian revolution have been swallowed up by growing acrimony and traditional distrust.
Now the two sides are sniping over who is responsible for the fuel shortage in Gaza that has been behind weeks of blackouts. Cairo accuses Hamas of turning a blind eye to a flood of 1,300 stolen cars being smuggled from Egypt into Gaza and allowing drugs grown there to be shipped out. They also accuse Hamas of being behind the circulation of some $40 million of counterfeit U.S. currency in Egypt.
Hamas' expectations that the military government that replaced Mubarak would open the border between Gaza and Egypt have been disappointed; traffic through the sole crossing point at Rafah is severely restricted. Over the past few weeks, dozens of Hamas field commanders were blocked from crossing.
(Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
Terrorism in France
- The "New Normal" in France? - Justin Vaisse
The recent terrorist shootings in France are notable only for their gruesome details. But the shootings reveal nothing new about global terrorism nor French society. Although often targeted, France had seen no major attack materialize on its soil since 1996. Anti-Semitism in France has steadily declined in recent decades, and anti-Semitic acts, which had brutally increased in the first half of the 2000s, have subsided.
The sociological profile of Mohamed Merah is a sad copy of his jihadist predecessors of decades past. These are not deeply religious men, but rather actors crazed by a desire to take destiny into their own hands and appointing themselves defenders of victimized Muslims. Merah articulated the usual jihadist justifications for his actions, but as late as 2010 he was still trying to enlist in the French armed forces, and was rejected by the Foreign Legion.
- More and More French Jews Emigrating to Israel - Gil Yaron
More and more French Jews are buying homes in Israel, amid fears of rising anti-Semitism in France. Many complain of being harassed in public. Shortly after the attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday, school principals in the city walked into classrooms and asked the Jewish pupils to come forward. "We ask you to leave the class and join the other Jewish children, who are in a locked and safe location."
It was intended as a precaution, in response to a request from the Jewish community. But it also highlights the degree to which many Jews in France feel that they are a threatened and increasingly excluded minority.
- The Iranian Decision on the Production of Nuclear Weapons - Ephraim Asculai
Iran has the technical know-how and the facilities to enrich its low enriched uranium (LEU - 3.5 and 20% uranium) to high enriched uranium (HEU) of about 90% enrichment. Using the available quantities of LEU, Iran could produce HEU sufficient for 4-5 cores of nuclear explosive devices. In addition, it is generally assumed that Iran has all the necessary components for an implosion nuclear explosive device.
At the same time, the status of fitting the nuclear explosive device on to a missile warhead is uncertain. Finally, the Iranian government has not given the go ahead for enriching uranium beyond 20% at its declared and inspected facilities. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
- How to Make Iran Change Its Mind - Meir Javedanfar
The Iranian regime can live without its nuclear program. But it can't live without its economy, and the recently imposed sanctions, if continued, could turn into an existential danger for the Iranian regime by precipitating an economic collapse. The West must use the current economic weakness and diplomatic isolation of the regime as a tool with which to change Khamenei's current nuclear policies.
The West should be sending a message to Iran's leader that the sooner he reaches a deal with the West, the lower the economic cost will be. Similarly, the longer he waits, the more the country's economy will pay. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) these days is very much about its business interests.
- Iran: The Leading State Sponsor of International Terrorism - Irwin Cotler
There is increasing - and compelling - evidence of Iranian footprints in a series of recent aborted terrorist attacks in India, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Thailand. These attacks constitute a major Iranian escalation in its state sponsorship of international terrorism and in the systematic targeting of diplomatic missions in defiance of preemptory norms of international law. Such an escalation dovetails with the converging Iranian fourfold threat - nuclear, incitement, terrorism, massive domestic repression - and its corresponding incendiary rhetoric which finds increasing expression in the regime's serial use of terrorist violence as a central tenet of its foreign policy.
Given the evidence of the escalating Iranian state sponsorship of international terrorism and the increasing targeting of diplomats, all states have the responsibility to invoke the legal, diplomatic, economic and political instruments at their disposal to confront Iranian terrorist aggression. The writer, emeritus professor of law at McGill University, is a former minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada.
See also Iran's Reliable Support for Terror - Laura Kam
The writer is executive director for global affairs of The Israel Project.
- U.S. Tells Turkey to Back Off Syria - Tony Badran
Washington, which at one point subcontracted its Syria policy to Ankara, has now called the Turks off the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
According to well-informed Turkish and U.S. sources, during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Clinton last month, Turkey's Foreign Minister Davutoglu put forward a set of measures, including a buffer zone and/or a humanitarian corridor, as well as organizing and equipping the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The secretary of state responded in no uncertain terms that the Obama administration had no interest in pursuing any of these options.
Washington's preferred policy is to go through the Russians in an attempt to reach a "political solution" to the Syrian crisis.
- The UN's Unworkable Plan for Syria - Editorial
After the UN Security Council endorsed a six-point diplomatic plan for Syria by former secretary general Kofi Annan on Wednesday, U.S. ambassador Susan Rice said, "Annan's proposal is the best way to put an end to the violence, facilitate much-needed humanitarian assistance and advance a Syrian-led political transition."
In fact, there is virtually no possibility that the new initiative will accomplish any of those aims. Instead, it will likely provide time and cover for the Assad regime to continue using tanks and artillery to assault Syrian cities and indiscriminately kill civilians. The Assad regime has no intention of capitulating.
For the Obama administration, Annan's mission allows the illusion that its diplomatic strategy is producing results - and that more decisive measures, such as arming the opposition or creating a protected zone inside Syria, are unnecessary.
The Annan mission guarantees that the bloodshed will continue, and probably worsen.
See also Syria's Opposition Says UN Statement Allows Assad to "Push Ahead with Repression" - Richard Spencer (Telegraph-UK)
- Palestinians Are Up to Ears in Debt - Edmund Sanders
In recent years, the increased availability of mortgages and consumer loans has caused personal debt to balloon in the Palestinian territories. It more than doubled, to about $750 million, from 2008 to the end of 2011 and rose 40% over the last year alone, according to figures from the Palestinian Authority.
Most of the increase came from a surge in home loans, which were once available only to the rich. Last year, the PA, with U.S. help, launched a $500-million mortgage-guarantee program in the West Bank.
First-time homeowner Muhannad Qaraden, 40, said he obtained a mortgage with just a 15% down payment and no cosigners.
"You can look around and see the impact of credit on the streets," said Basim Makhool, head of the economic consulting firm Creative Business Solutions. "All the cars are new. There's so much construction."
The West Bank economy is heavily reliant on international donations and tax transfers from Israel, experts said.
Yet foreclosures and evictions are virtually nonexistent in the West Bank because cultural pressure makes it difficult for lenders to repossess property in the close-knit Palestinian society.
(Los Angeles Times)
- IMF: More Aid Needed to Avoid Palestinian Cuts
The Palestinian economy is experiencing a serious drop in liquid assets that has worsened since last year due to a reduction in aid from Western and Gulf countries, an IMF report said. "It will be very difficult for the PA to cover the 2012 financing gap through austerity alone, without the prompt pledging and disbursement of additional aid," the report added. (AFP)
- International Donors Agree to Provide PA More Financial Aid - Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff
At the end of a meeting of international donors in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the financial crisis in the PA, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere urged the donors "to ensure the contribution of $1 billion in assistance in 2012."
Jerusalem attorney Calev Myers on Thursday lobbied the EU to make continued funding for the PA contingent on improvement in the human rights of Palestinians. The Jerusalem Institute of Justice has compiled a report on human rights in the West Bank and Gaza detailing Palestinian corruption and internal fighting. It spoke about arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, discrimination against women and religious minorities, and lack of freedom of the press.
It noted that the EU's provision of direct funding for institutions that are responsible for those abuses is problematic.
- Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti: "Destroy All the Churches" - Clifford D. May
Imagine if Pat Robertson called for the demolition of all the mosques in America. It would be front-page news. Why is it that when Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, declared on March 12 that it is "necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula," it was hardly reported.
Some members of the Kuwaiti parliament have been seeking to demolish churches and asked the question: What does sharia, Islamic law, have to say about this issue? The Saudi grand mufti replied that Kuwait is part of the Arabian Peninsula - and that any churches on the Arabian Peninsula should indeed be destroyed. He explained: "The Prophet commanded us, 'Two religions shall not coexist in the Arabian Peninsula'."
The inquiring Kuwaitis were from the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS). Ten years ago the RIHS branches in Afghanistan and Pakistan were designated by the UN as associates of - and providers of funds and weapons to - "Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the Taliban."
The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
See also Saudi Arabia's Top Sheikh: "Necessary to Destroy All Churches" - Nasim Rehmatullah and Harris Zafar
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community calls upon the appointed leaders in different parts of the Muslim world to adhere to the words of the Prophet of Islam and to stop prohibiting the free exercise of faith.
- Remembering the Attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires - Danny Ayalon
We recently commemorated 20 years since the vile and murderous attack against the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, and honored the 29 victims who lost their lives. Two years later, Buenos Aires suffered another fatal attack, when the Jewish community center, AMIA, was targeted, killing 85 people and wounding hundreds more.
Many of those who planned and carried out these terrible crimes continue to walk freely and plan new attacks around the world. One is the current Iranian minister of defense, Ahmad Vahidi, who is wanted by Interpol for his role in these mass murders. The attacks clearly demonstrate that Iran has tentacles which spread across the globe. In recent months we have witnessed many attempts to attack Israeli citizens and Jews in India, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Thailand. Many of these attacks were specifically aimed at Israeli diplomats.
We know the recent attacks on southern Israel by terrorist organizations in Gaza were also at the behest and with the full backing of the Iranian regime. The State of Israel will not rest until those who committed this atrocious crime receive justice.
The writer is deputy foreign minister of Israel.
- Israelis Cope with Rocket Barrage - Mordechai I. Twersky
Earlier this month more than 200 rockets from Gaza rained down over cities and smaller communities in Israel.
"It's very scary to know that your child is exposed to that kind of danger," says Renana Yaakov, as she stood with her 16-month-old son, Yagil, in front of his heavily damaged kindergarten in Kibbutz Nir Oz, which borders Gaza. "We live that kind of danger every day." A 120-millimeter mortar shell landed inches from the kindergarten two hours before Yagil and his classmates were to arrive. The fortified facility now has hundreds of deep, pock-mark-like craters carved into its concrete facade.
This week, Yossi Landau, a first responder for ZAKA, a voluntary emergency response team, showed journalists the devastation wrought by an incoming rocket that landed in the middle of Rogavin Street in Ashdod on Sunday, shattering the entire glass facade of a building on one side while piercing the building across the street with hundreds of holes that reached as high as the fifth floor.
- Answering Those Who Deny Jerusalem's Jewish History - Shmuel Rabinowitz
Testimony about the Jewishness of Jerusalem will be given by the ancient coins found among the remains, etched with names of kings of Judea. Testimony will be given by the burned seals carrying biblical names. Testimony will be given by the tremendous stone walls which surround the Temple Mount, the site of the Second Temple.
Testimony about the Jewish nation's devotion to Jerusalem will be given by the etchings left by pilgrims on the stone walls of Jerusalem; by the Holy Ark curtains, wine goblets and other ritual objects which carry the image of the Western Wall stones in every place which Jews reached around the world; by the prayers, hymns and the liturgy recited in Morocco and Spain, Ethiopia and Ukraine, etching the memory of Jerusalem in every heart.
Testimony will be given by the state archeological sites and museums in Jerusalem which preserve and tell the story of Jerusalem throughout the generations.
Shame on those who wish to erase Jerusalem's eternal story.
The writer is the rabbi of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
See also Video: Jerusalem: 4000 Years in 5 Minutes (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Secret Files Reveal 9,000 Nazi War Criminals Fled to South America after WWII - Allan Hall
German prosecutors were recently granted access to secret files in Brazil and Chile that confirmed that some 9,000 war criminals escaped to South America, including Croatians, Ukrainians, Russians and Western Europeans who aided the Nazi murder machine.
Perhaps as many as 5,000 went to Argentina; between 1,500 and 2,000 are thought to have made it to Brazil; around 500 to 1,000 to Chile; and the rest to Paraguay and Uruguay.
These numbers do not include several hundred more who fled to right-wing regimes in the Middle East.
Argentine President General Juan Peron sold 10,000 blank Argentine passports to ODESSA - the organization set up to protect former SS men in the event of defeat. "800 higher functionaries of the SS and Nazi state entered Argentina alone on such passports," said Uwe Steintz of the central war criminal authority in Germany. (Daily Mail-UK)
The Perils of Wishful Thinking on the Middle East - Walter Laqueur (World Affairs)
The reports from Cairo and other capitals described the Arab awakening as an event perhaps unprecedented in the annals of mankind. Some journalists predicted the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies would get at most 25% in free elections in Egypt.
Then in December 2011 elections took place; the Islamists received 65% in the towns, more in the countryside.
- Beyond the small and isolated freedom fighters were towns and suburbs where many millions lived in a desperately poor, overcrowded, and conservative society a world away from Jeffersonianism.
- The partisans of Arab Spring failed to consider that under Mubarak the position of women and minorities had been better than under the new regime that would probably succeed him.
- Desirability bias affected our thinking about foreign affairs. Dissatisfaction with the status quo was mistaken for an overwhelming embrace of the universalism of liberty and democracy - and ignored the strength of the Islamists and of nationalism itself.
- It should have been clear that the odds against the emergence of a democratic order in the foreseeable future in the Arab world were impossibly heavy: The lack of a democratic tradition, the great and growing influence of Islamism, the weakness of the secular forces and their disunity, overpopulation in a country like Egypt, and the inherent poverty.
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