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Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines


Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees

Trial of West Bank Civil Protester to Resume Sunday

RAMALLAH, January 5, 2012 (WAFA) – The trial of Bassem Tamimi, a resident of Nabi Saleh village, near Ramallah, and a known civil protester will resume Sunday, according to local activists. In the trial, Ofer military court near Ramallah will hear the testimony of an Israeli police inspector who took part in the interrogation of a Palestinian minor in order to incriminate Tamimi, arrested in March, said the sources. Inspector Jalal Aweida was one of the key interrogators of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub who claimed that Tamimi organized groups of youth into ‘brigades’ assigned with different responsibilities during the demonstrations including stone-throwing and blocking roads.
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IOA to confiscate 169 dunums of Salfit land

The IOA has notified the municipal council of Eskaka village, east of Salfit, that 169 dunums of the village’s land would be confiscated, the municipality chairman, Samir Haris, said.
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Israeli forces demolish 2 Jericho homes

JERICHO (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished two homes belonging to Jerusalem families in a village near West Bank city Jericho on Thursday. Bulldozers accompanied by military patrols tore down the homes in al-Duyuk, west of Jericho, also destroying the electricity connection to the site, residents told Ma’an. Forces told the owners the houses were built without a permit in Area C, which Israel fully controls under the 1993 Oslo Accords. Encompassing 60 percent of the West Bank, Israel only allows Palestinians to build in 1 percent of Area C, on land which is already heavily built up.
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Israel destroys storage containers in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces destroyed storage containers and confiscated commercial goods belonging to Palestinians in East Jerusalem on Thursday, locals said. Israeli forces and bulldozers entered al-Eizariya and confiscated stone displayed for sale in the al-Mashtal neighborhood near Maale Adumin settlement. They handed residents demolition orders and requested store owners present licenses. The store owners told Ma’an they had licenses from al-Eizariya town council but their requests for permits from Israeli liaison officials were rejected.
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The separation fence could divide the nuns from the monks at the Cremisan monastery, giving new meaning to gender segregation.

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Photo appears in army packet on Hanukkah describing the Jewish revolt against Hellenistic rule; IDF spokesman: Image meant to illustrate a period in which holy Muslim site did not exist.
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Occupation authorities install cctv cameras inside the Aqsa Mosque

The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage revealed that the Israeli occupation on Tuesday installed cctv cameras to monitor the Aqsa Mosque, especially from the side of the Maghareba Gate.
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Lebanese MPs: The Boogeyman of Tawteen

Lebanese politicians habitually invoke the specter of permanent settlement of Palestinians in Lebanon (tawteen) at every political juncture to instill a fear of the other. The other, in this case, is the Palestinian refugee living in refugee camps.
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Violence / Aggression

Israeli Forces Raid Town near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, January 5, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli Forces Thursday raided Takou’, a town east of Bethlehem, according to security sources. They told WAFA that after raiding the town, Israeli soldiers raided a house that belongs to a Palestinian and searched it. No arrests were reported.
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Report: Occupation committed 120 violations against Journalists, arrested 17

The Palestinian Journalist Assembly said that 2011 witnessed an escalation of violations by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian journalists.

Vandals spray paint the ‘revenge’ on the truck’s side and ‘price tag’ on a nearby electrical closet.
SALFIT (Ma’an) Israeli forces escorted hundreds of Israelis to a religious site in a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank early Thursday. Soldiers deployed along the streets and barricaded the entrances to Kifl Haris, near Salfit, to check villagers’ identity cards, locals told Ma’an. Dozens of armored buses transferred the Israelis into the village at 12.30 a.m., where they shouted slogans against Arabs, resident Amjad Abu Yacoub said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said “1,400 Israelis entered Joshus Binun tomb in the village, there were no disturbances.”
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Ban on 12 settlers in West Bank

Israeli police issue restraining orders banning 12 settlers from entering the occupied West Bank for up to nine months

link to West Bank Settler Violence, Stephen Lendman

B’Tselem’s been on the story for years. Settler violence is longstanding, troubling, and largely without accountability. Since September 2000 alone (the beginning of the second Intifada), the toll includes 50 Palestinians killed. Since December 1987 (the first Intifada’s onset), it’s 115, besides many more injured, including children. With few exceptions, settlers initiate unprovoked violence. More recently, those under the “Price Tag” slogan rampage out-of-control. B’Tselem documented numerous incidents, including blocking roads, stoning cars and homes, torching fields, uprooting trees and other crops, as well as other forms of violence and damage.
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No jail for Jewish extremists in “price tag” attacks

Twelve Jewish extremists involved in “price tag” arson attacks on Palestinians in recent weeks have escaped jail time, but will instead be barred from the West Bank for up to a year, Israel’s military revealed in a statement on Tuesday. Referring to the men as “activists,” the statement said that one man has been banned for one year, while the others will not be able to enter the occupied Palestinian territory for varied periods between three and nine months.
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IDF Investigations: Will There Be Justice for Tamimi?

IDF policy requires a criminal investigation be launched immediately when military operations in the occupied Palestinian territories cause death. But a defective system essentially ensures that the investigation will not be conducted in a fair and impartial manner, enabling soldiers to continue to act with impunity. This article was first published in The Jerusalem Post and is reprinted with permission.

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French Court To Look Into File Of Child Shot In His Father’s Arms

A French court will be looking into the case of Mohammad Ad-Dorra, 12, who was killed after being repeatedly shot, on September 30, 2000, while seeking shelter from Israeli military fire in his father’s lap; the father was also shot by several rounds.
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Undercover Israeli soldiers kidnap Palestinian child

Undercover Israeli security forces kidnapped a Palestinian child in Aisawiye, to the north east of occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening, local sources said.
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Palestinian Children Detained Oppressively in Isolation, Stephen Lendman

DCI/Palestine “is a national section of the international non-government child rights organisation and movement (dedicated) to promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children,” according to international law principles. On December 28, it submitted a complaint to several UN authorities titled, “The use of solitary confinement on Palestinian children held in Israeli detention.” It’s specifically for five children held at Al Jalame and Petah Tikva interrogation centers in Israel.
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Report: Palestinian arrested in Beersheba

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man in Beersheba on Wednesday, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. The man, from Jenin, is suspected of planning a stabbing attack and was transferred to the Shin Bet for questioning, the report said.
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Gaza man killed in tunnel collapse

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A man was killed and another injured when a tunnel collapsed under the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. Bilal Shaat, 24, from Khan Younis, died while working in the underground passage near al-Salam neighborhood in southern Rafah, officials said. An injured colleague was transferred to Abu Yousef al Najar hospital in Rafah along with Shaat’s body, they added.
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Anwar and Haneen: two beautiful girls murdered by Israel, Sarah Ali

Were 13-year-old Anwar and five-year-old Haneen terrorists? What could possibly explain the Israeli army’s targeting of children during its invasion of Gaza three years ago?
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5 January 2009: Amal al-Samouni

“I have constant pain in my head, eyes and ears. I have been having nose bleeds for the past three years. I can still feel the shrapnel move inside my brain”  On 4 January 2009 at around 6:00 Israeli forces surrounded the house where Amal al-Samouni (11) and 18 members of her extended family were sheltering, in Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City. Israeli soldiers ordered the owner of the house, Amal’s father Attia al-Samouni (37), to step outside with his hands up. Upon opening the door he was immediately killed by shots to the head and chest. Soldiers then started firing bullets into the house, killing Amal’s 4-year old brother Ahmad al-Samouni and injuring at least 4 other people, of whom 2 were children.
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Who remembers Gaza?

For the moment, the Arab revolutions have marginalized the Palestinian issue. For the first time in over half a century, the agenda of the Arab world–both that of governments and the people–is not determined by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but by the social and political difficulties they are facing: poverty, economic development and democracy. And when the Palestinian issue is marginalized, the Gaza Strip is pushed to the margins of the margins.
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Six Common Misconceptions about Gaza that are so 2011

In the sixth place: “The civilian closure has been lifted and only security restrictions remain”. Gaza is not as isolated from the rest of the world as it was a few years ago, but it is still cut off from the West Bank and it’s hard to find convincing security reasons why. For example, Israel prohibits students from traveling from Gaza to the West Bank – individual security checks are not even an option because the ban is sweeping. Israel does not allow goods from Gaza to be sold in the West Bank or Israel, while at the same time allowing exports from Gaza to Europe to be transferred through its own airports and seaports. It also imposes restrictions on the import of building materials into the Gaza Strip. The impact is felt mainly by international organizations rather than the local government, which gets all the cement, gravel, and steel it needs from the tunnels. Ongoing restrictions make it difficult for Gaza’s economy to recover, but they also split families apart and impede Gaza residents’ access to higher education and the opportunity to acquire training in a number of highly needed fields.
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Activism / Solidarity

Video: 10 Years of Struggle for Justice

This year, contributions from supporters will allow us to plant 2,050 olive trees for Palestinian farming families in 2012. Thanks to your generosity, the US Campaign will be able to replace almost 25% of the olive trees destroyed by Israel this year.  Your support will also allow us to capitalize on a decade of tireless work, and challenge U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid on an unprecedented scale in 2012.
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Discrimination / Racism / Sexism

High Court rejects petition against Israel’s controversial ‘Nakba Law’

Arab, Jewish citizens submit petition against law granting finance minister power to reduce budget of state-funded bodies that reject Israel as Jewish state or mark the Palestinian Nakba.
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Israeli credit card firm leaves women out of Jerusalem billboards

Activists working to bring images of women back onto ads in the capital, start a protest on Isracard’s Facebook page.
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Gynecology convention excludes female lecturers

PUAH Institute holds conference on female issues but only male experts are invited to speak; organizers claim rabbis prohibited participation of women doctors.
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Political Developments / Diplomacy & other Palestine / Israel news

Report: Israel submitted 22-point document to Palestinians

Ramallah – Israel submitted a 22-point document to the Palestinians this week during their first face-to-face meeting in nearly 16 months, a London-based Arabic newspaper reported Thursday. Nimr Hammad, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, confirmed to al-Quds al-Arabi that Israel had submitted the document, but declined to give details. The newspaper nonetheless reported it had ‘learned’ about the document’s content. It reportedly states that Israel is willing to withdraw from some Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, but not to the lines that existed before 1967. It is also reportedly willing to evacuate some, but not all, West Bank settlements.
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A Fatah leader confirms the failure of the Amman meeting

A senior leader of the Fatah movement said that the Israeli side disappointed the Palestinian and the Jordanian leadership during their meeting which was held in the Jordanian capital.
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Indictments in one of the largest corruption scandals in Israel’s history expected in days

Former PM, Jerusalem Mayor, Israel Lands Administration director, and 15 additional persons are suspected of giving or taking bribes to advance real estate ventures.

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Authorities seized an abandoned truck of Israeli products owned by a local distributor near Bethlehem on Tuesday, police said. After a refrigerator-truck was parked for three days near the Murad Resort in Dar Salah, east of Bethlehem, police found it loaded with yogurt, meat and milk products that had expired over a year ago, a police report said. The cargo — worth 40,000 shekels (almost $10,400) — was owned by a man from Beit Sahour, police said, adding “while distributing the products, the truck broke down and he couldn’t find a mechanic to fix it.”  Police detained the truck-owner and health authorities destroyed the goods, police said.
AMMAN (Ma’an) — Palestinian envoys handed Israeli officials a proposal for resolving border and security issues at a meeting in the Jordanian capital on Tuesday attended by international Quartet delegates. Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Juda said Israeli representatives promised to respond to the proposals in future meetings, which were agreed to be held in Amman at an unspecified date, official PA news agency Wafa reported.

Hezbollah TV: Israeli ‘spy ring’ exposed in Mauritania

Al-Manar TV claims fluke arrest leads Nouakchott authorities to ‘Mossad spy ring’ in Mauritania.

‘Israeli drone spying on Turkey almost shot down’

Turkish media outlet claims fighter jets called up to intercept unmanned aerial vehicle circling over missile batteries, radar equipment.

link to www.ynetnews.comEgypt charges telecom workers over Israel calls

CAIRO (Reuters) — Egyptian prosecutors sent four telecom company employees to court on Thursday after charging them with passing phone calls that served the interests of Israel, an official at the prosecutor’s office said. “The state security prosecutor referred four employees of Mobinil telecom company to the state security court on the charge of passing calls to the benefit of the state of Israel,” he said.

Algerian police confiscate Israel-made clothes

Local newspaper says vendors denied knowledge of the products’ origins; salesman from Algiers arrested.

Other Mideast NewsAttacks on Shiites in Iraq Kill at Least 60

Attacks on two Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad on Thursday killed at least 24 people, and 36 died in a bombing in the south, raising sectarian tensions.
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Two children were killed and nine people were wounded on Wednesday in a series of bomb blasts targeting the homes of Iraqi police officers in northeast Baghdad, officials said. Police said a total of six explosions were caused by roadside bombs planted near houses belonging to security officers in Baqouba as their families were sleeping. The city is located 60 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, and is a former stronghold of al-Qaeda militants. A medical official in Baqouba hospital confirmed the casualty toll.

Iraqi Children Killed in Attacks

At least 10 Iraqis were killed and 23 others were wounded in new violence. Four of the victims were children and, as often is the case, most of the attacks targeted security personnel.

Sunni lawmakers keep up Iraqi parliament boycott (AP)

AP – Lawmakers from Iraq’s largest Sunni-backed bloc stood by their boycott of parliament when the assembly reconvened Tuesday after a two-week break — another reminder of the deepening political crisis that has revived the country’s sectarian tensions.

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Prosecutors demand death penalty for Mubarak

Prosecution argues that Egypt’s ex-president and aides “politically and legally” responsible for killing of protesters.

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Egypt’s women must be allowed to protest in peace

Amnesty International called on Egypt’s military rulers to uphold the right to peaceful demonstration as women human rights activists staged more protests today.  Activists took to the streets to denounce violence used by the military against female and opposition protesters in demonstrations over the past week that have left 17 people dead, most of them reportedly from gunfire. “The shockingly violent scenes of recent days must not be repeated,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s interim Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

U.S. Reverses Policy in Reaching Out to Muslim Brotherhood

With the Muslim Brotherhood in reach of an outright majority in Egypt’s parliament, the Obama administration has begun to shift from decades of hostility toward it.

“A top executive at Lockheed Martin recently worked with lobbyists for Bahrain to place an Op-Ed defending the nation’s embattled regime in the Washington Times — but the newspaper did not reveal the role of the regime’s lobbyists to its readers. Hence they did not know that the pro-Bahrain opinion column they were reading was published at the behest of … Bahrain, an oil-rich kingdom of 1.2 million people that has been rocked by popular protests since early 2011.
Syria accused the United States of interfering in the Arab League, after a US official went to Cairo to hold talks with the regional body about the Syrian crisis. “The United States is one of the parties which is seeking to rekindle violence by its mobilization and incitement (to violence),” foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi said in a statement. “The US… statements are a gross interference in the work of the Arab League, and an unjustified attempt to internationalize” the issue of Syria, he said. The US State Department said on Tuesday that Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, was to travel to Cairo for consultations with the Arab League about Syria. Feltman’s visit to Cairo comes as Syrian opposition groups struggle to unite their efforts against the Syrian regime.

Syrian army deserters ‘kill 18’

At least 18 members of President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces are killed by army deserters in Syria, a human rights group says.

link to agrees ‘in principle’ on Iran oil embargo

The European Union has agreed to ban oil imports from Iran, pending a final decision to be made at the end of the month. Despite Iran’s rejection of accusations by Western nations that its nuclear programme is in fact a weapons programme, the EU aims to cut off funding to it. Oil prices have risen on news of the possible EU embargo. But as Libyan oil is starting to flow again it could offset any shortages. Al Jazeera’s Caroline Malone reports.
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U.S.-Iran Tensions: Mideast Showdown Builds As United States Tightens Military Ties To Israel

WASHINGTON — Storm clouds darkening over the Middle East suggest a growing peril for the United States and the possibility of a new war that could embroil the U.S., Israel, Iran and others in a bloody, costly fight. Behind this week’s exchange of threats between Iran and the United States over access to the Persian Gulf, seasoned analysts see a perfect storm of factors that could trigger armed conflict.

Pentagon: US Navy will remain in Gulf

US responds to Iranian warning to keep aircraft carriers out of Persian Gulf, but stresses it does not seek confrontation.

Peace progress? Qatar gives Taliban an office address

The Taliban, US, and Afghan officials have agreed to the let the Taliban set up an office in Qatar, providing a historic avenue for direct talks.

http://rss.csmonitor.comLibyan fighters reject new head of army

Two of Libya’s former rebel groups have rejected the governments choice of a new head of the armed forces, Yousef Mangoush, which has raised fresh concerns over the security in the country. In his first international interview, Mangoush told Al Jazeera he understands the challenges he faces in his new role. Yet not everyone is convinced with his credentials, and convincing the rank and file that he is the man to lead them may be hard. Already brigades from the east of the country have rejected his appointment, preferring someone from their own city to represent them. Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Tripoli, Libya.
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Analysis / Op-ed 

The Special Relationship and the Arms Race, by Max Ajl

Several days ago the Obama administration and Congress sealed a deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to export $29.4 billion dollars worth of enhanced F-15 fighter jets, alongside the retrofitting of 70 older F-15s. Manufactured by Boeing, the F-15SA is “the most sophisticated and capable aircraft in the world,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest said. “The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have signed a government-to-government agreement under the Foreign Military Sales program to provide advanced F-15SA combat aircraft to the Royal Saudi Air Force,” he added.

Watch very carefully how the NYT presents this story on the Muslim Brotherhood and its openness to rapprochement with the United States. The Obama administration is now very aware that MB lawmakers will work to create a state that will “respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt’s treaty with Israel”; in other words, respect the form but not the content of democracy while maintaining all the institutional scaffolding of capitalism and along with it the state’s control of the Egyptian people.

Santorum warns of “Eurabia,” issues call to “evangelize and eradicate” Muslims, Max Blumenthal

For the past two weeks, the entire mainstream American media homed in on newsletters published by Republican Rep. Ron Paul, an anti-imperialist, conservative libertarian who finished third in last night’s Iowa caucuses.

Israel has constructed a wall in the West Bank.  It is constructing a wall with Jordan and Egypt.  And this week, it announced that it will construct a wall near the Lebanese border.  And you still express doubts that Israeli years are numbered?  Are you out of your minds?  A state hiding behind walls has a future? In the Arab region?
I was struck by the hypocrisy of a recent Haaretz expose, which in itself was very good journalism, finding that five of ten Israeli cultural institutions which by law were required to offer Arabic-language captioning for exhibits and public events, did not do so.  It also noted that only ten of forty-nine institutions receiving state funding were required by law to have Arabic captioning.  The only museum fully out of compliance of the ten was the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (others were partially out of compliance).  So far so good.  This is clearly a worthy piece of reporting.
Adalah defends Palestinian rights. The European Jewish Congress attack on it reflects a wider pattern of bullying. Last week, the president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) launched an extraordinary attack on an Israeli human rights organisation, Adalah, comparing the NGO to the far-right French National Front and British National party. Moshe Kantor, who heads the umbrella organisation for elected representatives of Europe’s Jewish communities, was responding to a leaked EU document that expressed concern for Israel’s treatment of Palestinian citizens (EJC declined to comment for this article).

The ‘Other’ Righteous Gentiles, Muslims, Richard Silverstein

I’ve been rolling around in the mud too much in the past week or so after exposing David Lange and Yeshayahu Rotter. It’s time to hear of heroes and human decency for a change. I hope you appreciate these courageous acts as much as I did in reading about them and writing this post. Anyone who knows anything about the Holocaust knows about the Righteous Gentiles, those heroic non-Jews recognized by Israel’s Yad Vashem museum for saving the lives of Jews at great peril to themselves.  In almost every instance, these gentiles are Christian.  It is a lesser known fact that a number of Muslims also saved Jews during World War II.  In a number of cases, Israel has been unwilling to recognize their heroism by bestowing the designation on them.

Here’s the latest installment on the estimable “Rabbi” Yeshayahu Rotter, impressario of the Rotter media empire.  Here I wanted to disseminate some new information I’ve discovered about him and respond to a few of his attempts to defend or support his claims about his own record and background. I mentioned in an earlier post that the Rotter web portal which he started over a decade ago got its start as a site specializing in illegal download of music and video files.  I’ve discovered since that Rotter in fact was prosecuted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA home page) and Israeli police for piracy.  The homes of his son, Noam and himself were raided by police who found copying devices and CDs ready for copying.  Among those companies whose software was being pirated were Microsoft, Norton, and Semantec. Adobe Photoshop and Autocad.  The BSA estimated the damages to its member firms in the millions of dollars.  All pages of the Rotter website dedicated to piracy were ordered taken down.
The NY Times today departs from its usual cheerleading of U.S. hawkish foreign policy goals by in the event of a military conflict.  It might do so at great cost to itself, but it could be done.  Even if it couldn’t, the article estimates that even a minimal dustup there could raise the price of oil by $50 a barrel, thereby raising gas prices in the U.S. easily over $4 a gallon. Of course, this would cripple Iran’s oil production and shipping capacity, thereby sending its economy into a nosedive.  So it would be a game of chicken as to which side could inflict the most damage militarily and economically and which side would say “Uncle” first.  Just think about the terribly tender world economy teetering currently on the brink of recession. Those who predict it will be the Iranians might want to think again.
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Mossad Chief: Stop calling Iran an ‘existential threat’, Paul Mutter

Wouldn’t it be nice if the heads of our own national security agencies spoke truth to power like this? Tamir Pardo, head of Mossad, had this to say to a roomful of Israeli ambassadors last week: “What is the significance of the term existential threat?” the ambassadors quoted Pardo as asking. “Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That’s not the situation. The term existential threat is used too freely.”

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