U.S. Prosecutors Link Money from China to Iran - Jessica Silver-Greenberg (New York Times)
U.S. prosecutors say they have unearthed evidence that Chinese banks may have flouted U.S. sanctions against Iran.
They are concerned that Chinese banks with operations in New York may allow clients suspected of financing weapons development to open accounts in China, and then get access to dollars through money transfers from a foreign bank by way of its American subsidiary.
Arabs May Not Press Israel Resolution at IAEA Meeting - Fredrik Dahl
A senior diplomat said Arab countries would criticize Israel at next month's General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but were divided over whether to submit a resolution on the issue of Israel's assumed nuclear arsenal.
"The majority feels that we shouldn't submit it this year," an Arab source said.
The Order for Beatings Came from Abbas' Office - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
A Palestinian commission of inquiry into the beating of Palestinian journalists and demonstrators in Ramallah has found that top officials in Mahmoud Abbas' office had ordered the assault.
Many Palestinians have long been accusing the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank of waging a campaign of intimidation and terror against journalists, bloggers and political opponents.
Western donors who are funding the Palestinian Authority are willing to turn a blind eye to human rights violations as long as Abbas does not advocate violence against Israel, a Western diplomat based in Israel explained.
How Many Millionaires Live in the "Impoverished" Gaza Strip? - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
The world often thinks of Gaza, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, as one of the poorest places on earth, where people live in misery and squalor.
But according to an investigative report published in Asharq Al-Awsat, there are at least 600 millionaires living in Gaza. The report also refutes the claim that Gaza has been facing a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.
Mohammed Dahlan, the former Palestinian Authority security commander of Gaza, said last week that Hamas was the only party that was laying siege to Gaza; that it is Hamas, and not Israel or Egypt, that is strangling and punishing the people there.
Haifa University Posts Photographs of Israel's History - Yael Branovsky (Israel Hayom)
Hundreds of photographs from the past century showing Israel's development can now be accessed at the Haifa University Library website.
View the Historical Photographs of the Land of Israel (Haifa University)
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- Top Iranian Nuclear Scientist Resumes Work - Jay Solomon
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian scientist considered Tehran's atomic-weapons guru until he was sidelined several years ago, is back at work, according to UN investigators. A senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, he oversaw Iran's research into the construction and detonation of a nuclear warhead, Western officials say.
The International Atomic Energy Agency believes Fakhrizadeh has opened a research facility, the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), in the Tehran suburb of Mojdeh, involved in studies relevant to developing nuclear weapons.
A number of Fakhrizadeh's closest colleagues have risen up the ranks of the Iranian bureaucracy in recent months, placing them in positions to influence the future of Iran's nuclear program. Among them is Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and is one of the country's vice presidents.
Last month, Abbasi-Davani said Iran now has the technology to move quickly toward producing weapons-grade uranium. Such fuel can be used to build the core of an atomic weapon.
Israel is concerned that Fakhrizadeh's warhead research coincides with the two other planks of a nuclear-arms program: missile systems and production of highly enriched uranium. "They are moving up all three elements of their nuclear program to the starting line," a senior Israeli official said. (Wall Street Journal)
- Israel: We Never Physically Harmed Arafat - Daniel Estrin
A former Israeli official on Wednesday denied that Israel poisoned Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, as France prepared to begin an investigation into his possible murder. Dov Weisglass, chief of staff to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the time of Arafat's death in 2004, said Israel had no reason to physically harm the Palestinian leader, who was confined to his headquarters in Ramallah for the last two years of his life.
"We did not physically hurt him when Arafat was in his prime...so all the more so we had no interest in this kind of activity when he was politically sidelined," Weisglass told Israel's Army Radio on Wednesday. When
Palestinian doctors said Arafat was very ill and needed to be evacuated for treatment in France, Sharon immediately agreed, so Israel could not be accused of exacerbating his illness. (AP)
See also Arafat Probe Is Fuel for Anti-Israel Conspiracy Theorists - Jonathan Kay
It's tempting to think that the French investigation finally will put to rest conspiracy theories about Israel's involvement in Arafat's death. But history counsels otherwise. Conspiracy theories are never extinguished by official investigations. Furthermore, conspiracy theorists have a special fondness for Jews, and Zionist Jews in particular.
- UN Leader Broaches Delicate Topics in Meetings with Iranian Officials - Thomas Erdbrink and Rick Gladstone
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with four members of Iran's hierarchy in Tehran on Wednesday, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ban's spokesman said the "very serious meetings" addressed the disputed Iranian nuclear program, the Syria conflict, human rights problems and what he called the Iranian leadership's objectionable comments about Israel. Iran's state news media, which described Ban's visit as a repudiation of American and Israeli efforts to isolate Iran,
made no mention of Ban's criticism of Iran's human rights record or the comments about Israel.
(New York Times)
See also UN's Ban Tells Iranian Leaders to Prove Nuclear Program Peaceful - Michelle Nichols (Reuters)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Tehran Summit a Disgrace to Humanity - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh
The participation of 120 countries in a conference in Iran right now shows just how hollow the world's post-Holocaust pledge of "Never Again" really is, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday. "Today, over 120 countries are in Tehran, saluting a regime that not only denies the Holocaust but pledges to annihilate the Jewish state." "I think this is a disgrace and a stain on humanity." (Jerusalem Post)
- Roar of Gaza Rockets Fall on Deaf Ears at UN - Herb Keinon
"This week, Israel's children started their school year with the all-too-familiar sounds of sirens and explosions, as terrorists in Gaza fired six more rockets into their communities," Israel's ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor wrote Wednesday to the president of the Security Council.
"While Israel's schoolchildren were taking cover in bomb shelters, the UN released yet another biased report about Gaza. Apparently, the roar of rockets flying out of Gaza has not reached the deaf ears of the UN agencies that produced this report."
Prosor said the officials who wrote the document "conveniently failed to mention that Hamas has brutally hijacked Gaza and deliberately targets Israeli civilians in relentless rocket attacks."
The truth was "plain and simple: Hamas is responsible for the suffering in Gaza." (Jerusalem Post)
- Defining Israel's Capital - Trevor Asserson and Baruch Baigel
Earlier this year, the Guardian published "Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, Tel Aviv is." In response, media watchdog HonestReporting lodged a complaint to the UK's Press Complaints Commission (PCC) claiming that the Guardian's statement was inaccurate and therefore in breach of the Editors' Code of Practice.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines capital city as: "The city or town that functions as the seat of government and administrative center of a country or region." All three branches of Israel's central government (its legislature, primary executive offices and supreme court) are located in Jerusalem and not Tel Aviv, as are the Prime Minister's and President's residences.
A sovereign state has the right to designate the location of its capital city. It is an internal domestic question, with which international law does not concern itself. A sovereign state may even decide to relocate its capital city as did Brazil (from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia) or Germany (from Bonn to Berlin).
Statements in the British media which deny that Jerusalem is Israel's capital imply that Israel, unlike any other sovereign state, does not have the right to designate the location of its capital city. As a result of threatened legal action against the PCC, the Guardian printed a correction which stated "we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv - the country's financial and diplomatic center - is the capital." The authors are solicitors at Asserson Law Offices.
- Hamas Scales Back Hopes of Open Egypt Border - Karin Laub
Despite an Egyptian security clampdown, smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border keep operating under the supervision of Gaza's Hamas rulers. Since the Sinai attack, Egypt has closed dozens of tunnel openings. One Gaza smuggler said he was told by his partners in Egypt that far fewer smuggled goods are now reaching the border because of a heavy troop presence in Sinai.
Yet on a recent afternoon last week, trucks loaded with cement and gravel from Egypt stopped at a Hamas-run gate, paid their fees and headed into the border town of Rafah.
Underground travel between Gaza and Sinai is also continuing.
One Gaza man said sneaking under the border is "as easy as crossing the street." Travelers are vetted by Hamas security, walk for about five minutes through a short tunnel and pay $25 in fees, he said.
Yet since the Egyptian clampdown, only one of several passenger tunnels is operating, said a Gaza fish importer and frequent traveler. Returning to Gaza last week, he was interrogated by Hamas security and had to pay $300 in bribes to Egyptian officers, triple the usual amount.
Coverage of the Rachel Corrie Verdict - David E. Bernstein (The Volokh Conspiracy)
Reading different accounts of an Israeli court's decision to deny a judgment for Rachel Corrie's parents, I've come up with a pretty clear dividing line for sound coverage and poor coverage. Sound coverage at the very least mentions that Corrie was working for the International Solidarity Movement, an organization that supports Palestinian terrorism, has served as cover for terrorists, and encourages its participants to insert themselves in dangerous situations where they may suffer "martyrdom."
- The real reason the Rachel Corrie story stays alive is that the International Solidarity Movement has made her into a secular saint, portraying her as an innocent "peace" and "human rights" activist whose life was cruelly shortened by the same Israeli military that is oppressing the Palestinians. But anyone who cares to look up the ISM can see that it's not a "peace" or "human rights" organization, but an organization dedicated to Palestinian "liberation" that supports violence against Israeli civilians.
- Most Westerners, and certainly most Americans, have some real problems with bestowing sainthood on someone who was working on behalf of a pro-terrorism organization, which is precisely why her supporters try to obscure exactly what she was doing, for whom, and for what purpose, at the time.
The writer is a professor at the George Mason University School of Law.
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