ISRAELI FRONTLINE is non-profit.
This weblog is rewarded for each click, so please visit our advertisers to see what they are offering, with no obligation. Thank you!
All opinions expressed on this weblog are those of the author, with the exception of opinions expressed in links that appear on this site and with the exception of comments written by viewers whose opinions may not necessarily reflect the author's. All original material is copyrighted and property of the author, and is not to be used without permission, unless it is attributed to this weblog (with a hyperlink to, or to the particular article shown in this weblog). All emails and messages containing public news and information are presumed to be for publication on this site, unless otherwise specified. I reserve the right to delete comments that I find to be offensive in nature, inappropriate or irrelevant to the content of this weblog. Michelle Cohen, Creator of ISRAELI FRONTLINE---------------------------------------------------------------- © 2010 - 2016 ISRAELI FRONTLINE - All Rights Reserved.
Today's Top Headlines, Videos, Analysis and Opinion / / HOME PAGE

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Abbas to UN: Continued settlement constitutes a 'time bomb'

There was never a question of "peace" since Arabs want all of Israel:

Israeli envoy to UN responds, "it takes two to tango"; Ban Ki-moon calls settlement building "serious blow to credibility of political process."

In a message read at the UN headquarters in New York Monday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called West Bank settlements a "time bomb."

As the UN commemorated International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a message from Abbas was read, saying that the deterioration in the peace process "requires bringing a decisive and final end to the vicious Israeli settlement campaign."

Capital gives green light to Gilo housing project 
Israeli officials: Abbas making excuses not to negotiate 

The PA president's statement continued by saying that continued settlement "constitutes a time bomb that could destroy everything we have accomplished on the road to peace, at any moment."

Responding to what he called "destructive rhetoric," Israeli UN envoy Meron Reuben retorted, "It takes two to tango, Israel cannot reach peace on its own."

Reuben added, "We can only achieve peace with the Palestinians through compromise and direct and bilateral negotiations." "We can only move forward through bilateral negotiations that address the concerns of both sides," he said.

For his part, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke candidly on the issue, saying that there was "little optimism." Addressing the issue of settlements, the secretary-general said that continued building constitutes "a serious blow to the credibility of the political process."

Ban Ki-moon, however, did not direct his statements solely at Israel. He made it clear that the Palestinians "must continue to roll out the institutions of statehood, combat terrorist attacks and curb incitement."

Borderline Views: Yes to a referendum

The government decision to go to referendum before implementing any agreement involving territory may not be such a bad thing.

Last week’s decision by the government to insist on a referendum before implementing any future peace agreement involving withdrawal from territory has been attacked by the Left as a move aimed at preventing such an agreement from ever taking place. The pro-referendum forces within the government are convinced that the majority of the population, mistrustful as it is of the country’s Palestinian and Arab neighbors, will vote against a peace agreement. The government will be able to argue that it did its best, but that the will of the people was even stronger. How, it will argue, could the government ignore the voice of the people? 

If and when we ever arrive at that point, there is still much to be discussed concerning the nature of the referendum. Will it be a single question, simply asking people to vote for or against a peace agreement, the details of which have been presented to the country, or will there be complicated questions which will ask the people to vote for specific clauses, depending on specific outcomes? 

Who will vote? Will it be limited, as many of the more anti-democratic elements will demand, to Jewish residents. Or will it encompass the entire population? 

A referendum which discriminates against the country’s 20 percent Arab minority will not, of course, be seen as anything which can be labelled democratic and will have no status in international opinion. It will simply prove what Israel has been trying to deny throughout its 60 years of existence – that the country cannot be labelled as both Jewish and democratic – giving rights to all its citizens, but extra rights to those who are Jewish.

A referendum which applies to the Jewish population alone and which has a majority rejecting a peace agreement will show the world that Israel does not desire peace, and the country will become more isolated, with even its major allies – including the US – withdrawing their blind support.

BUT THIS is all based on assumptions that the present leadership is actually moving ahead to negotiate a deal with the Palestinians. There is absolutely nothing which would indicate that this is going to happen under Netanyahu. On the contrary, the current government does almost everything possible to prevent such negotiations. It seems to think that living in a world of sound bites and headlines, an occasional comment to the effect that the government wants peace and is prepared to negotiate is sufficient.

The government’s efforts to ensure continued US support in exchange for a three-month extension of the settlement freeze are farcical, and actually put the US to shame for being prepared to even consider such a deal. Since the end of the previous nine-month freeze just two months ago, settlement activity has been going ahead full speed. An additional three months would pass by quicker than the amount of time it is taking to negotiate the deal. And once the three months were over, everything would return to normal for the settlers and they would continue creating even more facts on the ground – facts which have already made it almost impossible to implement a future peace agreement along the classic lines of a two-state solution.

But at the end of the day it may not be such a bad thing to have a referendum. It may indeed be a risk for those who wish to move ahead with a peace agreement, but the issue is so critical that it requires a majority of the country’s population to ensure that anti-peace groups are unable to use the argument of democracy against those who would implement it.

Had a referendum taken place immediately prior to the Gaza disengagement, which would have almost certainly resulted in a convincing majority, it would have knocked the stuffing out of much of the anti-government demonstrations. How much more so for a withdrawal from the West Bank, which will involve the forced evacuation of many more settlers, and which will almost certainly bring a greater level of opposition and violence. Their opposition would be significantly weakened, both numerically and morally, if it was absolutely clear that the majority had voted in favor.

If the majority were to vote against an agreement, we would no longer have any moral right or justification to argue that we are a peace-loving society and that the blame for the ongoing conflict is all on the Palestinians. It would indeed be a grave responsibility for the country’s citizens, as it would be in their hands to prove, once and for all, whether the abstract concept of peace could be translated into reality.

THE HOLDING of a referendum does raise serious questions for a democracy. What is the role of elected politicians if, at the end of the day, they have to put the critical issues back into the hands of the people? Israel is by no means the only country which does not hold referenda, arguing that elections are the true referenda and that the country’s population has the right to change the government if it is dissatisfied with its policies. In the UK, for example, there has only been one referendum, in 1970, when citizens were asked to confirm their government’s decision to join the European Community.

But equally, there are moments in a country’s history when the issues at stake are so critical that it requires the assent of the people at large. A final peace agreement with our Palestinian neighbors which would involve major concessions (on both sides) is surely such a moment. On the Left of the political map, we should ensure that such a referendum will be winnable, that it will have a huge majority, rather than automatically oppose it as an anti-peace move. That way, we would ensure that the implementation of a peace agreement will have the necessary legitimacy and will marginalize all those who try to prevent it from happening.

Gilboa: WikiLeaks Exposures Demand Policy Change

Professor Eytan Gilboa, professor of communication and government at Bar-Ilan University, addressed on Monday the exposure of sensitive documents by WikiLeaks.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva’s daily journal, Gilboa, who is an expert on U.S. matters and former advisor in the offices of the Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister, said: “The publications weaken the United States and a weak United States is not a good thing for Israel.”

He added that he is concerned by an image of the U.S. as a country under attack led by a weak president. Such an image, according to Gilboa, might very well lead to continued attacks on the Americans.
Gilboa said that the very exposure of the documents is a “serious failure” on the part of the U.S. government, a failure which he believes that the U.S. is already paying for in the international arena, since it is now assumed by any diplomat or informant that should they contact their American counterparts, there is a legitimate concern that what they say would ultimately be made public. “There are known rules to the game,” said Gilboa. “Things that are said and sent confidentially should remain that way.”
He added that he does not believe that so far, any particularly severe information has been leaked, but warned that such information could be made available later in the week.
“So far there is nothing new,” said Gilboa. “Most of it was already known, but still, when things show up written in black and white it's embarrassing. We all knew that Saudi Arabia and other countries fear Iran, but when it is written that there was pressure on their part to attack Iran it's embarrassing.”
According to Gilboa, the U.S. administration must find the person who leaked the documents, punish them severely, and work to repair foreign relations. As for Obama's dealing with the information that has been leaked, Gilboa believes that he should focus on changing his treatment of hostile countries.
“Obama so far has been relatively soft on the enemy, and he should examine his strategy and support more allies,” said Gilboa. “The reconciliation with the Arab world failed. Now Obama needs to change his policy and present an action plan so that he can deal with two problems for which a solution has still not been found: the fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, and the proliferation of nuclear countries such as Iran and North Korea.”

The world thinks like us

Op-ed: WikiLeaks boosted Israel by revealing that most world leaders share our views

Had WikiLeaks not existed, Israel would have had to invent it. The massive leak of US diplomatic documents produces a clear, unequivocal picture: The whole world, and not only Israel, is terrified by the Iranian nuclear threat.

Iran’s nuclearization is not Israeli paranoia, as certain camps try to argue. It makes all world leaders, from Riyadh to Moscow, lose sleep. The Iranian issue is the common thread in the hundreds of thousands of documents that were leaked and it produces a narrative whereby the world expects Israel and the United States, in this order, to do something to stop “Hitler from Tehran.”

Some people feared WikiLeaks’ leaks because of the embarrassment to American diplomacy and the fears that the lives of US agents would be jeopardized. Yet that was a false alarm. The leak does not hurt America’s foreign policy, with the exception of a few tales recounted by junior diplomats.

The leak reinforces the main message of two US administrations - which turned out to be incredibly similar to the main message conveyed by Israeli governments: Iran constitutes the clear, immediate and greatest threat to the world’s stability, and the world needs to act towards uprooting this malignant tumor. All the rest is dwarfed by it.

Israel largely unscathed

Some media outlets indeed tried to make a big deal out of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s supposed order to US diplomatic staff to spy after senior UN officials. However, scrutinizing the documents makes it clear that this had to do with concerns about close cooperation between some UN officials and HamasHezbollah. This theme had been frequently raised by Israel too.

In fact, the ocean of leaks has not yet produced an item that casts a negative light on Israel. Netanyahu came out of it (relatively) ok, Olmert came out of it (relatively) ok, and even Mossad Chief Meir Dagan’s statement about the US need to encourage the protest of intellectuals and students in Iran is commensurate with a liberal, democratic worldview and with accumulated experience in toppling dictatorships.

It is doubtful whether in recent years Israel’s foreign and defense policy received such significant backing and reinforcement as happened Sunday. At least on the Iranian front, and apparently in respect to quite a few other issues too, world leaders – including the Arab world – think like us but are ashamed to admit it. WikiLeaks exposed this shame.

'Israel, Germany share special connection'

Understanding between our young people is the foundation for a joint future, German President Christian Wulff says in exclusive interview in honor of visit to Jewish state

BERLIN - The anti-Semitic slogans sprayed on the walls of the new synagogue in the western German city of Osnabrück shocked teenager Christian Wulff, who never imagined that such things could happen in his country again.

Alongside the swastikas, the unknown assailants added Nazi slogans like "Jews, drop dead." Wulff, who served at the time as chairman of his school's student union, decided to initiate a protest against the desecration of the synagogue.

Thousands of the city's residents accepted Wulff's call to hold a march of solidarity with Osnabrück's small Jewish community, from the location of the old synagogue which was completely burned on Kristallnacht to the new synagogue which was vandalized.

Those days, about 33 years ago, such a procession was not an obvious thing in Germany. "It was essentially the first public political activity I had ever initiated," recalls Wulff, who today serves as Germany's president.

Wulff, a member of the Christian Democratic Party, was appointed to the most senior position in Germany last summer in what was said to be a big surprise. His predecessor, senior economist Horst Köhler, resigned in late May after being criticized for remarks he made in favor of using military force to defense economic interests.

After many deliberations, Chancellor Angela Merkel deiced to present Wulff as her party's candidate for the top symbolic role. Until then, Wulff had served as prime minister of the state of Lower Saxony. Following a nerve-racking race against the left-wing candidate, Wulff became united Germany's fifth president.

Wulff, 51, is not just the youngest president in Germany's history. He also brought along to Bellevue Palace an unusual and non-conservative presidential family. His beautiful second wife, Bettina, 37, was a single mother before they married and gave him a son two years ago.

The new spirit introduced by Wulff has also led to a slightly different treatment of the president by the press. TV host and author Charlotte Rosche suggested that he spend a night with her if he refuses to sign into law the extension of the country’s nuclear power stations. Wulff did not respond to the offer.

"I feel the citizens are supportive of the fact that a family with small children has moved into the president's palace," Wulff says in a special interview to Yedioth Ahronoth, conducted before his visit to Israel.

"We have children in high school, in elementary school and in kindergarten. As a father I experience many daily problems of every family. My wife is very supportive of me thanks to her commitment, ties and experience. She was a single parent, I was divorced. Naturally, these experiences affect our work as well."

Facing the future with hope

Wulff arrived in Israel on Saturday night for his first official visit since taking office five months ago. He insisted on including the Jewish state among his first destinations abroad.

Israel, on its part, is going out of its way to express its appreciation for the new German president: His counterpartShimon Peres accompanied him on a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited him to a private meal at his home.

Wulff, the first German president born after World War II, has already visited Israel many times in the past, but views his first presidential visit to the Holy Land as particularly important. As a member of Germany's young generation of leaders, he is interested in stressing the continuation of the special connection between Israel and Germany. This is the reason he decided to bring along his eldest daughter from his first marriage, 17-year-old Annalena.

"My country's responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust constitutes for us Germans an ongoing commitment to vouch for Israel's right to exist," Wulff says. "This responsibility is part of the German identity and we must fill it with life. Therefore, it was very important to me to come to Israel for a few days at the start of my term and clarify the great importance we attribute to the uniqueness of our relations.

"Recognizing the Israeli citizens' right to safe and recognized border and to life free of violence and fear is a consistent and unchanging principle of the German policy. As far as we are concerned, Israel's security is non-negotiable. I say it everywhere. Only recently I made such a statement at Turkey's Grand National Assembly.

"This basically means that Germany is working together with its partners in any way possible to find a diplomatic solution for the threat stemming from the Iranian nuclear program."

Wulff stresses the importance of maintaining the relations in the present, as well as maintaining the memory of the past. "We feel responsible for guaranteeing that the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust will not weaken, even when those who experienced it will no longer be with us.

"I believe that the members of my generation and our children must maintain the memory of the Holocaust, support Jewish life in Germany and fight anti-Semitism uncompromisingly.

"As a young man I organized demonstrations of solidarity with the Jewish community in my hometown after an attack on the synagogue. I was already convinced then that we cannot tolerate such a thing and must not keep quiet. Later, as the prime minister of Lower Saxony, I worked for the establishment of new synagogues, a documentation center at the Bergen-Belsen camp, and a center for synagogue music."

In recent years, in light of the negative change in the German public opinion towards Israel, there are those in Germany who are calling for an end to the special relations between the two countries. Wulff strongly rejects these calls.

"Those who make such demands are demanding the impossible," he says. "We cannot separate from such a significant part of history and of our self-perception. So I am fully convinced that the connection tying Germany to Israel is special and will remain special.

"Israel, by the way, is the only non-European country we hold governmental consultations with, based on our unique relations, the values of freedom and democracy we share and the mutual interests in many fields. I am pleased that the next consultations which will take place in Israel in January 2011 will be devoted to matters of the future like climate protection, renewed energies, research and youth exchange programs. This points to the diverse and deep relations between Germany and Israel. I see a lot of dynamics and huge potential for the future."

Wulff's itinerary in Israel includes a visit to the Hebrew University, and the solar energy plant in Beit Shemesh, which was bought about a year ago by German conglomerate Siemens.

"I would like to express what connects Israelis and Germans in the future and present," the German president stresses. "I think, for instance, about our economic and scientific cooperation in advanced technologies like solar energy or advanced medical research for the development of treatments for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's.

"The future of our bilateral relations will also be at the focus of my talks with President Peres. The German-Israeli Future Forum Foundation, an initiative of the presidents of both countries, contributes to the understanding between young people from Israel and Germany. I am convinced that focusing on the young generation is the critical elements, as understanding between young people from our countries is the foundation for a joint future."

How can Germany contribute to normalization between Israel and its neighbors?

"We support the current efforts to resume talks between Israel and the Palestinians with all our might. I don't see an alternative for the two-state solution. I am fearful that the chances to end the conflict will diminish if all sides fail to see the required willingness for compromises and develop trust. At the end of my visit I also wish to bolster (Palestinian) President (Mahmoud)Abbas to continue the peace process."

Unusual stand

Unlike other heads of state who visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Wulff – who comes from a Catholic home – decided not to meet with Abbas in Ramallah, but in Bethlehem, which has been losing its Christian residents in the past few years.

Wulff's visit to the Jesus' birthplace expresses his great concern for the future of Christians in the Middle East. During his visit to Turkey several weeks ago, his hosts appeared quite unsatisfied when he insisted on visiting a local church.

"The situation of the Christians in the Middle East, as well as the situation of all other religious minorities, is very close to my heard," Wulff clarifies. "The possibilities for a free religious life vary from country to country. We are in contact with the minorities and the government on this issue if needed.

"During my travels I hold a dialogue with representatives of the Christian communities, and I will do the same during my visit to Israel. Ties between the monotheistic religions must improve."
Wulff, who is considered a dull politician, surprised Germans recently when he voiced an unusual stand during the stormy public debate over the failed absorption of Muslim immigrants.

"Islam is part of Germany," he declared in a speech on the anniversary of the country's reunification. The conservative camp Wulff comes from was not very happy with this statement.

"Europe is affected by the Christian-Jewish culture," the president explains. "The reformation, education and secularism all belong to our history. We live in a free society where the freedom of religion is dominant. Any person can live according to his or her religion and worldview. So can the Muslims. But every person must also respect other people's freedom and the rules of life we share. Islamic and fundamentalist opinions are not in line with our constitution."

Do you see Turkey, and perhaps even Israel, in the European Union in the future?

"Israel has very strong ties with the EU. For example, it has been successfully participating in its research program for years. Germany wants the relations between Israel and the EU to become more intensive.

"As for Turkey, as Germans it is our great interest to see it move forward towards Europe. The EU and Turkey have been negotiating a membership since 2005. Will the talks end with a full Turkish membership in the EU? That depends on how the development of the negotiations. They must be held openly and fairly. I believe Turkey has already obtained certain things and must make every effort to guarantee a successful continuation."

Studies published in Germany recently indicate that parts of the German population are losing their faith in politicians and democracy. The number of vibrant street protests is growing, and yet Wulff is not concerned about his country's future.

"Germany is an active and strong democracy. We emerged from the economic and financial crisis better than most industrialized countries. We have all the reasons to look at the future with hope.

"Naturally, there are challenges we share with many others: The demographic changes, environmental protection and our basic natural living conditions, as well as the change of political forces in the world. We must adjust to these changes and design them actively. This is the meaning of political leadership. It requires open and honest communication with the citizens.

"I sense a growing need among the population for options to take part in political decisions, not only at times of elections. We must take this seriously and look for new ways of transparency and cooperation with the public opinion when it comes to complicated projects. This way politics will gain both the trust and the citizens' participation."

Meged Field May Be a (Black) Gold Mine for Israel

There's gold in them thar hills – there seems to be black gold, that is, in the hills near the central Israeli town of Rosh Ha'ayin. For nearly two decades, an Israeli group called Givot Olam has been searching the area for oil, and in 2004, finally found commercially recoverable amounts of gas and oil. Since then, the company has further explored the Meged oil field – and on Monday, the company presented at a press conference the first independent geological assessment of the field, with the report claiming that there is anywhere between $200 million and nearly $900 million in oil buried in the field. And that, says Givot Olam chief geologist Tuvia Luskin, is “a gift from Hashem.”

The estimate is the result of two reports by international geology firms Baker-Hughes and Greensand, discussing the amount of oil that they claim is definitely in the ground at the Meged field –the  proven reserves (P1), and the potential reserves (P2). And according to the reports, former National Security Advisor Giora Eiland – who is Givot Olam's strategic advisor – there are between 2.2 million and 56 million barrels of oil in the field.

Eiland spoke a press conference given by the company Monday and introduced the reports from the two international firms. The lower estimate figure, according to the reports, are P1 reserves which could theoretically be extracted within months, while the latter number includes the firms' professional estimates as to the Meged field's full potential. Of that higher amount, there is at least a 50% chance to produce some 10 million barrels as well. The proven reserves are mostly in the Meged 5 oil well, while the P2 reserves of 10 million barrels are in several new wells that will have their drilling completed by 2012, Eiland said.

“These are conservative estimates,” Eiland said at the press conference. “The two firms are conservative in their outlook, as we are.” However, he added, the excitement over the Meged find was genuine. “The stock market and the media were all excited over news of possible finds of oil off Israel's coast, but here we have the first proven major reserves of oil in Israel,” he said.

Luskin told Israel National News that the find was “a milestone for the company, and for the whole country. This is the first time that internationally recognized firms have given an estimate for the amount of oil in the Meged field, or for any field in Israel. The figures they provided represent P1 and P2 reserves, which is very exciting – no other oil project in Israel has ever received this recognition. We started exploring in 1992, and after many ups and downs, we are happy to have arrived at this day. It is by the grace of G-d that we have succeeded,” he said. “This is a blessed event.”

Probe Clears Police in Injury of US Protester (Emily Henochowicz)

An American activist wounded in a protest at an Israeli checkpoint was hit by a ricochet gas canister and was not shot at intentionally, video evidence shows.
New York state student Emily Henochowicz (who has now become an Arab propaganda artist) lost an eye while protesting against the IDF at the Kalandia crossing last June. She joined Arab demonstrators following the May 31 clash with IHH terrorists on the Mavi Marmara ship that was headed to Hamas-controlled Gaza. 

Henochowicz, a 21-year-old art student, was carrying a Turkish flag to show her solidarity with Ankara and the Arab protesters.
The police probe cleared officers of any intention to hurt, despite claims by her family’s lawyer. He ridiculed the police investigation, comparing it to “sewage.” 
Despite the video evidence, Arab and left-wing media repeated activists’ claims that the police probe excluded on-the-scene left-wing reporters. One witness said, “It really looked as though they [the police] were trying to hit us" - though he could not substantiate the allegation with facts.
On the other hand, a Palestine News Networkreport on the police probe did not publish quotes that contradicted the video.
“They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession," according to an interview last June with International Solidarity Movement member Sören Johanssen, from Sweden. "One landed on either side of Emily [and] then the third one hit her in the face.” 
The canister that hit her in the face was a ricochet, according to the video.
The police added that Henochowicz “endangered herself by participating in the demonstration” at Kalandia, where violent riots against police and soldiers are common.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hamas Resumes Missile Attacks on Negev (South Israel)

Terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza resumed rocket fire on the Western Negev Sunday morning, striking near Sderot.
As usual when no one is injured and there is no serious damage, Israel media did not report the Kassam attack. The short-range rocket exploded in mid-air as thousands of children and college students returned to schools and the local Sapir College.

The IDF stated that nearly 200 mortar shells and missiles have been fired at southern Israel this year, despite the ceasefire that Israel and Hamas declared in separate statements after the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign ended nearly two years ago.
The Israeli army and air force have retaliated after almost every attack, usually bombing smuggling tunnels and weapons factories. The Defense Ministry has not explained why the targets are struck only after an attack on Israeli soldiers or civilians, although many of the tunnels are designed to transport terrorists for carrying out missions to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
A week ago Saturday night, the air force targeted a smuggling tunnel in southern Gaza in response to an attack in which 10 mortar shells rained down on Gaza Belt communities and a Grad rocket exploded near the town of Ofakim.
In a separate incident Sunday, Israeli soldiers fired on several Arab youth who approached the security border despite warning shots. They apparently were scavenging for building material.

Arab Who Maimed Woman with Rock Gets 9 Years

Let this be a lesson for all those terrorists who are planning future attacks:

The Military Appeals Court has granted an appeal by the Prosecution and stiffened the sentence of an Arab youth who maimed a Jewish woman in 2007. The attacker, Muhammad Alwahsh, threw a rock at the car the woman was driving in, hitting her face and seriously injuring her. She suffered damage to her vision and hearing, loss of sensation in half of her face and a loss of the senses of taste and smell.

According to the charge sheet Alwahsh, who lives in El Hader south of Jerusalem, and several other youths decided to hurt Israeli citizens. In one incident, they threw fire bombs and rocks at Israeli-registered cars but caused no damage or injury. In the 2007 incident, they threw rocks at cars near the northern entrance to the nearby community of Efrat.
The Judea Military Court originally sentenced Alwahsh to six years' jail as well as 18,000 shekels damages to the injured woman. Both the prosecution and the defense appealed the verdict. The defense asked to lessen the sentence, arguing that at the time of the attack, Alwahsh was five days shy of his 18th birthday and thus technically a minor. It also asked for a more lenient sentence on the grounds that the sum of monetary compensation Alwahsh must pay the victim is a large one.
The prosecution asked the court to make the punishment more severe, in view of the injuries caused.
The Military Appeals Court decided to lengthen the sentence to nine years and did not change any other components of the lower court's ruling. The court also noted that while the defendant was technically a minor at the time of the attack, he was very close to becoming a legal adult and must have been aware of the severity of his deeds and the danger involved.
The court noted that the pain and suffering that the victim suffered should be reflected in the sentence, as should the pain inflicted on the victim's family. “They suffer alongside her, day by day and hour by hour,” the court added.

Abbas’ Fatah Faction Honors Olympic Massacre Planner

These are the barbarians with whom, the Israeli Government is "attempting" to make "peace":

The Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, held a meeting in Ramallah last week in honor of a senior planner of the 1972 (Munich Olympic) massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympics at their Revolutionary Council conference.

Abbas, who worked behind the scenes to fund the murder of 11 Israelis at Munich, earlier this yeartold American Jewish leaders he would halt incitement and the encouragement of violence against Jews. One month later Abbas praised Abu Daoud, the mastermind of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 who died this year.
At last week’s Fatah’s Revolutionary Council meeting, Abbas sat at the head table in front of a poster of Amin al-Hindi, one of the senior planners of the terrorist attack that shocked the world but not enough to stop Olympic officials from continuing with the Games despite the massacre.
The Fatah meeting officially was held in honor of “the Shahid (Martyr) commanderAmin Al-Hindi,” according toPalestinian Media Watch. The text on the banner behind Abbas read, "Palestinian National Liberation Movement - Fatah. Fifth Meeting of the Revolutionary Council Shahid (Martyr) Commander Amin Al-Hindi Conference November 24-25, 2010 Ramallah - Palestine."
Last August, the official PA daily described al-Hindi's participation in the Olympic massacre, saying he was "one of the stars who sparkled... at the sports stadium in Munich." The attack itself was referred to as "just one of many shining stations" in his life.
At last week’s conference in Ramallah, Fatah formally declared that it never will recognize Israel as a Jewish state and also rejected the idea of a land swap by which Israel would hold sovereignty over Jewish-dominated areas in Judea and Samaria such as Gush Etzion and Maaleh Adumim and would surrender areas which are dominated by Israeli Arabs.

The "Apartheid State" is at it again: Project to Export Berries and Flowers from Gaza Begins

What country in the world helps their enemies export goods using the countries border crossing? 

The Gaza Strip has begun to export strawberries and flowers to markets in Europe, according to a report by the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria.

A spokesperson for coordinator Major-General Eitan Dangot said on Sunday that the new export project for strawberries and flowers is part of a wider project that is being managed by the Administration of Coordination and Liason alongside Gazan farmers, and is being funded by the Government of Holland.

As part of the project it has been made possible to export approximately 2.5 tons of strawberries and 2,000 flowers to the European markets via the Kerem Shalom crossing. As well, in order to facilitate the export project, numerous agricultural products are imported to the Gaza Strip each year in order to grow carnations.

Last week, Dangot said during a meeting with a visiting Italian ministerthat by mid-2011 Israel will allow Gaza to export even more goods through Israeli crossings. The move would be likely to significantly boost exports, bringing new money to Hamas coffers.

Dangot's revelation came as IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Hamas since 2006, remains captive, and as terrorism from Gaza continues. Terrorists have recently stepped up their attacks, firing on the city of Ofakim for the first time since the Cast Lead counterterror operation in early 2009, and using white phosphorus in rockets launched at Israeli civilians.

Dangot reported that Israel has significantly relaxed its policy on imports to Gaza. While Israel initially allowed only humanitarian aid to enter the region from Israel following the violent takeover by Hamas, today approximately 250 trucks enter the region every day bearing a wide variety of goods, and everything but weapons and dual-purpose goods is allowed through.

The spokesperson for Dangot highlighted on Sunday that since the beginning of the year, 78 projects have been approved with the funding and supervision of the international community and with the approval of the Palestinian Authority. There has been a particular stress on projects in the field of education, health and infrastructure. 64 of the 78 projects were approved after Cabinet's decision from June 2010.

WikiLeaks: Clinton ordered probe on UN chief

Secret files show Washington wanted to find links between UN members, terror groups

WikiLeaks revealed Sunday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered a probe on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as an investigation on possible ties between UN members and terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

"Washington wanted intelligence on the contentious issue of the 'relationship or funding between UN personnel and/or missions and terrorist organizations' and links between the UN Relief and Works Agency in the Middle East, and Hamas and Hezbollah," the British Guardian reported, citing the documents leaked by the controversial Web entity.

Washington also sent out orders signed by Clinton or Rice (aka Condoleezza Rice, Clinton's predecessor) ordering diplomats to gather "biographic and biometric" on various UN officials, including Ban, the report says.

It adds that the US may have "blurred the line between diplomacy and spying", and that the country's relations with the UN may now suffer due to the publication of the secret orders.

The US is one of the UN's biggest funders, donating over $3 billion annually to its function.

Israel was also included in the orders to collect intelligence on Mukhabarat, the Palestinian Authority's secret service, and Istikhbarat, its military intelligence; orders which Washington circulated among all of its embassies in the Middle East.

Diplomats in Israel, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia were asked to gather biometric intelligence on Palestinian Authority officials and senior Hamas agents in Gaza and the West Bank, the report says, in an effort to ascertain links between the officials and terrorists.

Tattooed Graffiti Artists Bring Color to the Judean Hills

When a group of tattooed professional Jewish and non-Jewish graffiti artists from around the world descended on the quaint biblical city of Beit El, Israel National News TV's "Eye on Zion" was there! Watch as the unorthodox - and staunchly pro-Israel - 'Artists 4 Israel' transform a children's play center into a symbol of Zionism and Jewish pride. The world-famous artists, including NICER, 2ESAE, SKI, BELIN, MYRHWAYN, and GREMS, arrived in Samaria as part of a solidarity mission to Ariel. A new cultural center in the college town was boycotted by Israeli theater artists and academics several months ago because it is located in Samaria. The 'Artists 4 Israel' trip was made possible by the City of Ariel, the One Israel Fund, and the Zionist Freedom Alliance.
Great job!

During the trip, the artists also spray-painted designs in Neve Yaakov, Shilo, and the Negev community of Sderot.

German pres. 'commited to Israeli security' - German president lauds Israeli scientific cooperation


German President Christian Wulff began his morning on Sunday with a first official visit to Israel since taking office. He was welcomed with an official ceremony held at the Presidential residence in Jerusalem, where he met with President Shimon Peres, who later accompanied him on a tour of the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem.

Wulff, Germany's first president born after WWII placed a garland at Yad Vashem in memory of Holocaust victims, promising his country will forever fight for Israel's safety.

Wulff entered his new position only a few months ago, and his visit to Israel is his first official visit outside of the European Union.

He said he requested that his first visit outside of Europe be to Israel, in order to express how the relationship between Germany and Israel is dear to his heart.

He added that Germany sees itself as responsible to ensure the existence and safety of Israel, a sense of responsibility he feels must be passed on from generation to generation. He explained that this is the reason he had requested to allow teens to join him on his visit.

German President Christian 
Wulff (left) in Yad Vashem 

Peres thanked his guest for the visit, saying that it shows Israel where his intentions lay. He continued saying how important Israel's relationship with Germany is, adding that German leaders and the majority of the German people remember the past and feel that there should always be a unique bond between the countries. Peres said that both countries have a responsibility to educate children to remember the past and to also take responsibility for the future.

Regarding political issues, Wulff said he agrees with Peres that the best way to ensure Israel's security in the long run is through a just peace process in the area, based on a two-states principal with secured and defined borders.

Wulff promised to discuss the issue with the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization Abu Mazen, during his visit to Bethlehem this week following his stay in Israel.

Wulff and Peres went on to visit Yad Vashem, accompanied by Yad Vashem Directorate Chairman Avner Shalev and Wulff's 17 year old daughter, Annalena. The German president participated in a memorial ceremony for the Holocaust victims, signed the guest book and placed a flower by the name engraving of his German hometown.

At the end of the ceremony Wulff read aloud what he had written in the guest book, saying that the "inconceivable crimes of the Holocaust force Germany and the Germans to act in order to ensure Israel's existence."

German president lauds Israeli scientific cooperation

Wulff visits Hebrew University campus where dozens of projects being carried out together with research institutions in Germany.

German universities and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are collaborating on a large number of research projects – from understanding brain function to following the demented with global positioning system devices to document their cognitive decline – because of scientific excellence on both sides.

So said German Federal Republic President Christian Wulff, who on Sunday visited the HU campus on Mount Scopus to meet scientists and administrators and learn about their cooperation in dozens of projects with the University of Heidelberg and other research institutions in Germany.

The 51-year-old president, who was elected just last summer, said he has followed such collaboration for some time as he previously was a member of the senate of the prestigious Max Planck Institute for the Advancement of Science. Wulff noted that Israel and Germany had scientific ties before they had diplomatic relations. It was pointed out that per capita, HU has the most joint research projects with German institutes.

An exhibition of original documents handwritten by Albert Einstein, previously on view in Jerusalem, is being shown in Germany, said Wulff, who added he was pleased that an additional agreement of scientific cooperation with Israeli academia will be signed next month.

HU president Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson noted that a number of German researchers will receive honorary doctorates from his university in June. Ben-Sasson also presented Wulff with an English-language edition of a volume on the great Jewish physicist.

“Einstein once said that progress results from exchange of knowledge,” the German president said, with translation into English by an interpreter.

Wulff, who is on a state visit, said that “terror goes on in the world. We need to remember the victims of terror. It is very important for us to be concerned with the security of Israel.”

Dr. Noam Shoval of the HU’s geography department presented research by his and the University of Heidelberg’s scientists that uses GPS technology to trace the movements of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related cognitive disorders.

Urban areas in Tel Aviv and the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan areas were the sites of such research, in which healthy and demented people in various stages of Alzheimer’s were fitted with GPS devices to see where they were going. Those with dementia walked within a limited circumference and a strange, irregular pattern compared to healthy subjects, said Shoval.

Auch studies could help in the diagnosis of diseases of cognitive decline, he said.

The research looked at how people move through space, what types of transportation they use, where they spend their time and how much of their time is spent at home. While the researchers are still gathering information on the project, they have already published 15 articles on their work.

Shoval noted that the GPS system could also be used to compare males and females.

“On Fridays, when healthy Israeli men should be helping their families to prepare Shabbat, they are more likely than women to go out,” he added with a smile.

The ability to understand a person’s intentions by “reading” his brain activity was discussed by Prof.

Eilon Vaadia, acting director of HU’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences. Two groups from Germany and two groups from Israel participated in the project.