Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
2 suspects arrested for Beit Shemesh stabbing attack
By MELANIE LIDMAN
Police believe attack was nationalistically motivated, but no terrorist groups have taken responsibility.
Two men allegedly involved in the stabbing of two women, one fatally, near Beit Shemesh on Saturday have been apprehended.
Police are maintaining a media blackout on the investigation, though they said they believe the attack was nationalistically motivated and not a random act of violence.
Police: Stabbing was probably a terror attack
US woman's body found in Jerusalem-Beit Shemesh area
Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday night that no terrorist groups had taken responsibility for the attack.
The stabbing killed American Kristine Luken and seriously wounded her friend, Givat Ze’ev resident Kay Wilson.
The two women were hiking with Wilson’s dog on Saturday near Mata when they were attacked by two Arab men, Wilson told police.
They stabbed both women, but Wilson pretended to be dead until the attackers left the scene.
Wilson then made her way to the road, bleeding heavily and with her hands tied, and attracted the attention of two families who called for medical attention.On Sunday, she told reporters from her hospital bed how one of the attackers took off her Star of David necklace and stabbed her where the pendant had lain.
Luken will be buried in the United States later this week.
A memorial service will be held at Christ Church in Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday, and the church plans to create a memorial in Luken’s name.
“She had an infectious love for God and a great admiration and love for the Jewish people and the Holy Land,” the church said in a statement.
Both Luken and Wilson were involved with CMJ, the Church’s Ministry Among Jewish People, which promotes Messianic Judaism.
The two met on a CMJ-sponsored tour of Poland and Israel that explored the Holocaust and modern-day Israel.
Wilson is the main educator for Shoresh Tours, a branch of CMJ that runs tours in Israel and Eastern Europe.
A representative of Luken’s family declined to say where she will be buried. Luken lived for many years in Virginia while working for the US Department of Education before moving to Nottingham, England, to work for CMJ.
“She had a beautiful and gentle spirit as well as a strong and vibrant faith,” Robin Aldridge, chief executive officer of CMJ UK, said in a statement.
Luken had worked as CMJ’s UK administrator since 2009.
CMJ UK will hold a memorial service for her in Southwell, north of Nottingham, on January 12.
Censoring of Temple Mount Report Sparks Anger
by Hillel Fendel
The State Comptroller has prepared a report on the wanton destruction caused by the Waqf on the Temple Mount, and on Israel’s response. The Committee to Prevent Destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities is up in arms that the lion’s share of the report will not be publicized.
Attorney Yisrael Caspi of the above Committee responded on Arutz-7’s Hebrew news magazine to remarks by MK Otniel Shneller, who chairs the Knesset subcommittee that determined which parts of the Comptroller’s report may be publicized. Shneller told Arutz 7 on Monday that the Waqf – the Muslim religious body that administers the Temple Mount site, Judaism’s holiest location and Islam’s third-holiest – caused much destruction to Temple Mount artifacts in the course of digging and building a mosque there.
However, he said, “the situation has now changed totally… Many improvements have been made over the past few months, and everything is now done there in full coordination with the police, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Attorney General’s office, the relevant ministerial committee, and the Jerusalem municipality.”
Caspi says this is not enough: “The report must be publicized in order to disclose the mistakes of the Olmert government that allowed the Waqf to operate on the Temple Mount freely… To censor the report because of ‘security’ considerations is a violation of previous promises made by the committee members.
Shneller had said that other countries are very interested in the Temple Mount, indicating that if Israel releases the full report, it might result in other countries gaining a stronghold there.
Caspi disagrees: “To say that releasing the report will unleash a storm of protest and ‘fire on the Temple Mount’ is simply a groundless scare-tactic."
“Prime Minister Netanyahu must rise above himself,” Caspi said, “and demand that the report be released to the public. Many bodies are criticized in the report, such as the police, Jerusalem Municipality, the previous Attorney General, and the Justice Ministry – and if the many failings and faults are not revealed, they will not be able to be mended."
PA, Hamas warn Israel against response to rocket fire
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
PA president says IDF operation will lead to collapse of int'l peace efforts; Erekat blames Israel for escalation; Hamas to file UN complaint.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday warned Israel against launching a strike on the Gaza Strip in response to the recent spat of rocket attacks.
“Any new Israeli aggression would put the entire peace process in real danger,” Abbas said during a meeting in his office with the EU representative to the Palestinian territories, Christian Berger of Austria.
IDF predicts violence to subside despite Gaza pounding
Editorial: Remember Cast Lead
An IDF operation would “lead to the collapse of all international efforts aimed at salvaging peace,” Abbas said.
He urged the EU to play a larger role in the Middle East peace process, “especially because of the EU’s huge political and economic weight, which enables it to impact all parties to back the peace process.”
The PA president also complained about Israel’s policy of construction in settlements and east Jerusalem.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat expressed “deep concern and fear” over the latest escalation along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Blaming Israel for the escalation, Erekat said it was dangerous and had “many repercussions which make us feel very worried.”
Erekat too warned Israel against launching a new “aggression” on the Gaza Strip, saying such a move would lead to “more complications.”
He cautioned that a military operation would “push the region toward more anarchy and bloodshed.”
Erekat said that Israel had a strategic interest in seeing divisions among the Palestinians continue.
He accused the government of waging a campaign to convince the world that the PA and Abbas were not partners for peace. The government was responsible for the failure of the peace process because of its refusal to stop the construction in the settlements, Erekat said.
He also demanded clarifications from the US about a recent WikiLeaks cable that talked about an agreement between Israel and the US administration according to which “natural growth” in the settlements would continue.
Hamas, meanwhile, said it would file a complaint with the UN and the Arab League against the “recent Zionist escalation.”
The Hamas government planned to contact many governments around the world to “explain the aggressive intentions of the occupation leaders,” said Taher a-Nunu, spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza City.
He said Israeli threats to launch an attack on the Gaza Strip coincided with Fatah’s continued crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank.
“Hamas is facing big challenges as the leaders of the occupation threaten to eliminate Hamas,” he complained.
“This is in addition to the campaign of arrests and repression waged by Fatah security forces against the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank.”
Nunu claimed that Fatah was holding more than 3,000 Hamas supporters in its prisons in the West Bank. The detainees included university lecturers, journalists and students, he said.
In a separate development, the European Commission decided on Wednesday to provide an initial package worth €11 million to the PA.
Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a statement: “This decision is a sign of the strong political and financial commitment of the European Union to the Palestinian Authority and to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s leadership in building a democratic and viable Palestinian state.
Palestinian statehood is critical for any peaceful, workable and lasting solution to the conflict.”
In announcing the package, Stefan Füle of the Czech Republic, the European commissioner for enlargement and neighborhood policy, said: “By today’s decision the Commission wants to give a signal to the Palestinian people that they can count on our continued support in 2011 as in the past.”
Jundallah is on point of executing abducted Iranian nuclear scientist
DEBKAfile Special Report December 22, 2010, 9:05 PM (GMT+02:00)
Iranian nuclear expert Amir Hossein Shirani abducted by Jund Allah
The Iranian Sunni Baluchi underground Jund Allah announced Wednesday, Dec. 22, that it intends to execute Amir Hossein Shirani, a senior Iranian nuclear scientist, whom the organization abducted on Oct. 8 at the entrance of the secret Iranian nuclear facility in Isfahan, 340 kilometers south of Tehran. If Jund Allah carries out its decision, Amir Shirani will become the first senior Iranian nuclear expert to be captured and put to death by a terrorist organization. He will also be the second nuclear scientist Iran has lost in a single month: On Nov. 29, unknown killers assassinated Dr. Majid Shahriari, head of the program combating the Stuxnet malworm invading Iran's computers.
The Jund Allah spokesman Abdel Raouf Rigi made this announcement Wednesday: "We will execute this man after the Iranian authorities refused to respond to our demands."
Those demands, debkafile's counter-terror sources report, were for the release of 200 jailed individuals defined as "Iranian Baluchi politicians" and Jundallah members. He denied that the 11 men Iran hanged Monday, Dec. 20, were members of Jund Allah, as claimed by Tehran.
"Iran is lying as usual," said Rigi. Those were not members of the organization. They have tribal links to some resistance fighters, but they had nothing to do with our recent operations in Iran."
Our intelligence sources report that after Shirani was kidnapped, Tehran tried claiming he was only a common driver and cleaner at Isfahan and had nothing to do with the plant's scientific activities. But Western intelligence knew better and even then identified him as a cousin of Ahmed Sultani, one of the leading lights of Iran's nuclear program and director of the Isfahan facility, which is a secret uranium enrichment plant for nuclear weapons.
Iran makes a practice of employing members of the same family in its most secretive plants as a precaution against leaks of information, espionage and defections.
On Nov. 28, Jund Allah aired a recorded interview with the captured scientist on the Saudi Al Arabiyah TV channel, in which he admitted he had worked for three years in enriching uranium at the secret nuclear research center in Isfahan, having been recruited by a relative Ahmed Sultani, general manager of the facility. "During the time I worked there, I learnt the center was enriching uranium for manufacturing nuclear weapons," he said. "Because engineer Sultani was my relative, I got toattend most of the meetings," said the captured scientist.
"Work at the center," he disclosed added, "went on 24 hours a dayand was divided into three shifts. Around 50 engineers worked in each shift."
Having extracted all the kidnapped expert's secrets, including the names and functions of the staff at Isfahan, Jund Allah offered to hand him over in return for inmates held in Iranian jails. But Tehran decided it had no further need of the expert and had no qualms about abandoning him to his fate with his captors.
PM refuses to reveal his ‘final borders’ map
By HERB KEINON
Netanyahu unwilling to discuss borders without clarifying security issues; senior US officials return to Washington without answers.
Two senior US officials returned to Washington on Wednesday without prying out of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu his map of a future Palestinian state, something both the Obama administration and the Palestinians are keen on receiving.
US National Security Council senior Middle East adviser Dan Shapiro and David Hale, a top adviser to US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, met Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho in Jerusalem on Monday, and the Palestinian Authority’s top negotiator Saeb Erekat in Ramallah on Tuesday.
PA reaffirms determination for unilateral recognition
Arab League against peace talks without clear borders
Their visit followed quickly on the heels of a visit late last week by US President Barack Obama’s adviser Dennis Ross.
One Israeli official said that while Netanyahu is not opposed to discussing borders, he is unwilling to do so in a vacuum “without first having a clear understanding of security issues, and the character of a future Palestinian state.”
Before discussing a map of a future state of Palestine, the official said, Netanyahu wants to “first discuss the security map.”
Netanyahu has said that in any future agreement Israel would have to retain a security presence on the Jordan River, and – according to a recent Newsweek story – has told the Palestinians he also wants Israeli troops stationed along territory on the Palestinian side of the security barrier to protect the country’s “narrow waistline.”
The official said it is impossible to discuss the contours of a border without first knowing whether a future Palestinian state “will be demilitarized, and how that will be achieved.”
It is also necessary first to see whether this state will recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state and whether it will consider that an agreement with Israel will put an end to the conflict, “with no more demands,” the official said.
The prime minister’s position is that borders cannot be discussed isolated from other issues.
Both US and Israeli officials said there was unlikely to be much US activity in the area for the next week, until after New Year’s Day.
In a related development, Foreign Ministry officials said the apparent willingness of some countries to upgrade the level of the PA delegation in their countries, a move taken by Norway last week, and by France, Spain and the US in recent months, was an effort to give the PA something, even though the diplomatic process was stymied.
France and Spain both upgraded the status of the Palestinian representation in their capitals to mission status over the last three months, and the US upgraded the PLO’s presence in Washington to “delegation general” earlier in the year.
The Foreign Ministry, according to one diplomatic source, is concerned that a number of other European countries will now follow this move as a way of “winking” toward the Palestinians, even though they will not recognize a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood along the pre-1967 lines.
While the upgrade of the delegations has no practical significance – the Palestinians already have full embassies in dozens of countries around the world – it does have declarative value for the Palestinians, the diplomatic source said.
Israel has conveyed the message to capitals abroad that it feels giving the Palestinians a “prize” at this time sends them the wrong message that they will somehow be able to establish a state without directly engaging with Israel.
Leading priest blames Jews for Greece’s problems
Cleric blames Jews for financial problems; says Hitler was instrument of Zionism, funded by Rothschild family.
ATHENS, Greece -- A high-level priest on the morning show of the largest television station in Greece blamed world Jewry for Greece's financial problems on Tuesday.
The Metropolite of Piraeus Seraphim also blamed world Jewry for other ills in the country during his appearance on Mega TV.
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'Dublin event reminiscent of financial Jewish scapeqoating'
Mixing Freemasons with Jewish bankers such as Baron Rothschild and world Zionism, the Metropolite said that there is a conspiracy to enslave Greece and Christian Orthodoxy. He also accused international Zionism of trying to destroy the family unit by promoting one-parent families and same-sex marriages.
Thirteen minutes into the program the Greek host asked the Metropolite, "Why do you disagree with Hitler's policies? If they are doing all this, wasn't he right in burning them?"
The Metropolite answered, "Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new Empire."
Jews such as "Rockefeller, Rothschild and Soros control the international banking system that controls globalization," the Metropolite also said.
The Metropolite of Piraeus Seraphim is not the only Greek priest with such extreme ideas, as Salonika's Metropolite Anthimos also has preached similar ideas from his pulpit.
"Watching and listening to the program, I felt disgust hearing the Metropolite of Piraeus expressing himself like that against world Zionism, and shamelessly saying that Hitler with the help of Jewish bankers did what he did," said Benjamin Albala, president of the Athens Jewish community.