Monday, January 3rd, 2011
2 at J'lem British Consulate charged with aiding Hamas
By JPOST.COM STAFF AND YAAKOV KATZ
Staffers charged with helping 2 e. J'lem men obtain guns in connection to plot to fire missile into Teddy Stadium
Two employees of the British Consulate General in Jerusalem have been charged with weapons trafficking in connection to an alleged Hamas plot to fire a missile into the capital's main soccer stadium, Reuters reported.
A British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman confirmed the arrested and said that Britain was seeking confirmation of the charges immediately.
Civilian casualties, Gaza and the political war
Hamas through the ages
"We have been told by the Israeli authorities that the investigation into our two employees is unrelated to the work they do at the consulate," the spokesman told Reuters.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said that the consulate employees aided the the plotters of the attack in obtaining guns. The plotters are two east Jerusalem Arabs, Musa Hamada from the Sur Baher neighborhood and his friend Bassem Omeri, an Israeli citizen from Beit Safafa.
According to details of the investigation released for publication on Sunday, the two men collected intelligence on Teddy Stadium, the home of Betar Jerusalem, with the goal of firing a missile into it during a game.
The pair allegedly began plotting the attack following the IDF’s Cast Lead offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip two years ago. They visited a number of hilltops near the 21,600-capacity stadium in the capital’s south to study possible launch sites for the attack, likely to be carried out with an anti-tank missile.
The attack did not materialize, however, after the two concluded that it was too complicated.
Hamada and Omeri, the Shin Bet said, also bought a number of handguns and tried to procure rifles and bombs.
Other Arab residents of Jerusalem were involved in purchasing the weapons, and they have also been arrested.
Netanyahu slams Palestinians’ new 'three no’s'
By HERB KEINON AND REBECCA ANNA STOIL
PA leadership saying no to recognition of Israel as Jewish state, no to dropping the demand for a ‘right of return’ and no to vital security arrangements, PM tells FADC.
Israel has an “arsenal of possible responses” it can deploy in response to a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
Netanyahu, who did not spell out what steps Israel would take, said he preferred “not going” down that unilateral path “because it is a negative direction.”
PM to Abbas: Ready to talk until 'white smoke comes out'
Exclusive: Livni wants Likud as partner if Kadima wins
The prime minister said he had spoken recently with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera in an effort to prevent Santiago from recognizing a Palestinian state – something a number of Latin American countries, such as Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador, have done in recent weeks. Uruguay announced that it would recognize Palestinian statehood in 2011.
According to the prime minister, such recognition distances negotiations and makes peace more unlikely, because it strengthens the Palestinians’ sense that they can get what they want without negotiations.
Netanyahu bewailed what he said had become the Palestinian “three no’s”: No to recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, no to dropping their demand for a Palestinian refugee “right of return,” and no to agreed-upon security arrangements on the ground. The prime minister was making a reference to the Arab League’s Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967, and its “Three No’s”: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” Netanyahu, who informed the MKs that White House senior adviser Dennis Ross was due back later this week, said the Palestinians had shown no willingness to compromise on either substantive or procedural issues. They have shown “no movement,” he said.
He reiterated what he said last week during a Channel 10 interview, that coalition considerations would not prevent him from pursing a peace agreement if he thought one was possible.
“No coalition agreement will prevent reaching an agreement with the Palestinians,” promised Netanyahu. “On the first day of this government, I asked Abbas to hold direct negotiations and received no response.”
He added that “Israel is continuing to advance the peace process, but the Palestinians have not moved one millimeter.
“We crossed our Rubicon; the question is, will the Palestinians?” he went on. “Are they ready to stand before their public and advance peace? They went into talks around the end of the building moratorium, but the only topic that they discussed was the continuation of the freeze.”
Following the end of the building freeze in September, the Americans suggested an additional three-month freeze, , Netanyahu said.
“We had talks with the Americans about what we wanted in return. The truth is that we were ready to do it again, contrary to reports that Israel refused to extend it. Ultimately it was the Americans who backed down from the talks - and rightly so, I think, because in the past all the conversations with the Palestinians were about continuing the freeze and not about the key subjects,” he said.
Answering a question from MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) regarding progress on the planned Palestinian city of Rawabi, outside of Ramallah, the prime minister said, “I think that it is a positive step. The Palestinians are building constantly, but this time it is a visible project that all the world can observe. It is a city that will be part of the future Palestinian state, and we are looking into easing restrictions on transit surrounding the city.”
Asked about the Syrian track, Netanyahu said Israel was open to talks with Damascus as long as there were no “preconditions.” The problem with the Syrians, he said, was that they demanded Israel give up everything before they would even enter talks.
“We are ready and willing to hold negotiations with Syria,” the prime minister declared during the meeting. “The problem is that Syria wants us to give the whole territory as a precondition for talks.”
Netanyahu said there was no lack of countries that had volunteered their services as intermediaries with the Syrians, including the Americans, Germans, French and Bulgarians.
The prime minister made clear in the meeting that Israel had no intention of apologizing to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident, although it was willing to express regret over the loss of life. He emphasized that he “saw an opportunity with Turkey during the fire,” and that contacts were continuing with Ankara.
“We are not interested in a continuation of the deterioration of the relationship,” he said – adding, however, that Israel would not accept a formula for putting the ties back on track that would imply that IDF soldiers were guilty of wrongdoing.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni attacked Netanyahu after he said that since 1995, he had supported a two-state solution. The prime minister said that he had spoken during a Likud central committee meeting in support of establishing a “state-minus” in a demilitarized area of the West Bank.
“It is amazing how you describe an alternate reality, and claim that it is the truth,” charged the Kadima chairwoman. “It is strange that you fall back upon 1995 when in 2002, you announced in the Likud central committee, ‘Yes to a Jewish state means no to a Palestinian state, and we must say no.’”
Livni went on to accuse Netanyahu of causing damage to the nation’s security interests
Cabinet Minister Edelstein: Boycott the Boycotters
by Elad Benari
Minister Yuli Edelstein sharply criticized on Monday the twenty Israeli firms which have signed contracts in which they agree not to use products manufactured by Israeli companies in Judea, Samaria, northern/southern/eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights during the building of a new Palestinian Authority city.
Those who start with boycotts will be boycotted themselves in the end,” said Edelstein. “The actions of these companies are disgusting. In exchange for money they cooperate with our enemies and contribute to the delegitimization of Israel, which harms its image as well as the very basis of its existence.”
Story about Woman Killed by Tear Gas is a Hoax, Says IDF
by Gil Ronen
The IDF shot down an ugly Arab hoax Monday, after it had already been propagated worldwide. The Nana-Channel 10 website reported that a military investigation found that the woman who supposedly died when she inhaled tear gas at a demonstration Friday was not even present at the protest. She did not die of tear gas inhalation but of cancer, the IDF found, and had been lying in a hospital bed for ten days before passing away.
Arabs and leftists propagated the story that the woman, Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, had inhaled tear gas at their weekly staged riot at Bilin, in Samaria. Adding pathos to the story was the allegation that she was the sister of an Arab who was killed in Bilin in 2009 after being struck by a tear gas canister. Israeli papers carried photos of her and quoted her as saying that she wishes to join her brother in Paradise.
The Palestinian Authority was quick to seize upon the story for lambasting Israel. "We condemn this abominable crime by the Israeli occupation army in Bilin against people taking part in a peaceful demonstration and consider it an Israeli war crime against our people," chief PA negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.
However, the IDF has now found that Jawahel Abu Rahma died of leukemia or lung cancer, and had been in Ramallah hospital for ten days before passing away. The story was a fabrication intended to delegitimize Israel, the IDF said.
It seems that Arabs in the PA have become creative in making up lies that make Israel look bad worldwide. Unfortunately, even when their lies are discovered, the damage has already been done and the refutation of the story will receive less publicity than the original libel did.
'Israel is not facing a demographic threat'
Most Israelis remember that just 40-some years ago, Judea and Samaria (including the eastern half of Jerusalem) were in Arab hands. They are smart enough to realize that surrendering those areas back to the Arabs wouldn’t result in peace today any more than it did before 1967.
As such, international pressure alone is not enough to get the Israelis to meet Arab demands, which the world insists must be done for peace to reign in the Middle East. So, instead of howling that Israel must make concessions to appease the world, advocates of the land-for-peace process both in Israel and abroad claim that if Israel does not facilitate the birth of a Palestinian Arab state, the Jewish state itself will soon cease to have a majority of Jews.
They call this the demographic threat.
But the demographic threat has been repeatedly debunked, although the mainstream media tends to only cover those predictions that support the demographic threat.
Two left-wing Israeli demographers have again been pushing the demographic threat in major local newspapers. This week, the deputy director of the Yesha Council of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria sought to once again set the record straight.
Speaking to Arutz 7 radio, Yigal Dilmoni noted that one of the demographers made similarly gloomy predictions decades ago. In a 1987 feature article that appeared in Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, demographer Prof. Arnon Sofer insisted that by the year 2000, Israel would no longer be majority Jewish.
Of course, that prediction turned out to be utterly erroneous, as Jews today, in 2010, make up about 80 percent of Israel’s population.
Dilmoni noted that even if Israel annexed Judea and Samaria and added the Arabs there to its population, Jews would still hold a majority of 67 percent in the lands west of the Jordan River.
One of the biggest problems with these demographic games is that Israel’s leading “experts” and the government itself too easily accept Palestinian-provided population figures, which naturally are massaged to benefit the “Palestinian cause.”
A recent study done by the American-Israel Demographic Research Group revealed that instead of the 2.5 million Arabs the Palestinian Authority claims live in Judea and Samaria, in reality only 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs live there. Additionally, the Palestinian Arab birthrate has been dropping, while the Jewish birthrate in Israel has seen a slight increase over the past decade.
The bottom line is that Israel is not facing a demographic threat, even if it fully exercises its biblical mandate and annexes Judea and Samaria. And even if the demographic threat that many claim exists was real, it would still pale in comparison to the actual demographic threat that existed in 1948, but which did not deter David Ben Gurion and his fellow Jews from declaring statehood.
Upper West Side synagogue receives mailed bomb threat
By JORDANA HORN, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
Warning is fifth to reach Manhattan house of worship since past summer; report shows hate crimes in NY increased by 14% in 2009.
NEW YORK – A letter sent to an Upper West Side synagogue last week, threatening to blow it up on New Year’s Eve, arrived the same day a report was released by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services showing that hate crimes across New York jumped 14 percent in 2009.
The letter was found at Congregation Ohab Zedek on 95th Street off Columbus Avenue at 5 pm last Thursday, Rabbi Allen Schwartz told the New York Post.
Mail bomb found in Dubai traveled on 2 passenger planes
Netanyahu: We stand before a rising wave of terror
Security was heightened at some prominent New York synagogues on New Year’s Eve for Friday night services.
Ron Meier, director of the Anti- Defamation League’s New York office, said this was the fifth such threat against a Manhattan synagogue since the summer.
“I do know that the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force Unit has the case, and is taking it extremely seriously, and while it is not a widespread occurrence, it’s not a first-time event either,” Meier said.
The earlier threats were similar to the one against Ohab Zedek, he said, and reached their targets – Manhattan synagogues of many sizes and denominations – by letter. Meier said they all seemed to have originated in the greater New York area.
“Fortunately, till now, none of what was threatened has occurred, thank God,” he said. “But the impact of being the recipient of such a threat as an institution is its power to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for a whole congregation, potentially.
“We work very hard to make sure such threats don’t become realities, but even the threat itself is its own reality,” he added.
According to the New York State report, hate crimes rose in New York City by 6% in 2009, with Manhattan having the second-highest number of incidents at 70.