Anne's Opinions

Note: It appears the bomber was not Mehdi Ghezali. See the bottom of this post for updates and more details as they come in.

Bulgaria named the bomber of the Israeli tourist bus, who killed 7 people yesterday outside the airport in Burgas, as Mehdi Ghezali, a Swedish national with Finnish and Algerian origins and a history of Muslim extremist activity.

Ghezali was reportedly a Swedish citizen, with Algerian and Finnish origins. He had been held at the US’s Guantanamo Bay detainment camp on Cuba from 2002 to 2004, having previously studied at a  Muslim religious school and mosque in Britain, and traveled to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

He was also reportedly among 12 foreigners captured trying to cross into Afghanistan in 2009.

Wow. Assuming this news is correct, is there a pattern emerging? Just last week the Cypriot authorities arrested a Swedish national for plotting to attack Israeli…

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by Daniel Greenfield..There are between 350,000 and 550,000 Jews who have been targeted for ethnic cleansing by the international community. Their crime is their race and religion.

In 1948, armies from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen and Lebanon invaded Israel, along with the Holy War Army, commanded by the nephew of Hitler’s Mufti, and the Arab Liberation Army, under Fawzi al-Qawuqji, freshly released by the Soviet Union after being captured with his Nazi allies in Berlin. Along with them came thousands of terrorists and thugs from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Driven by hate, they swarmed into Israel to destroy it. They seized half of Jerusalem, expelling its Jewish population, blowing up its synagogues and using tombstones from its cemeteries to pave their roads.

Villages such as Kfar Darom in Gaza were besieged, first by the Muslim Brotherhood, and then by the Egyptian Army. The village…

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Financial Post | Business

Canadian energy firms will be given a fair shot at helping Israel develop its vast deposits of newly discovered shale oil and gas resources, assures the Jewish state’s Ambassador to Canada. Miriam Ziv spoke with the Financial Post’s Jameson Berkow about how the long-standing Canada-Israel relationship can be leveraged and expanded to help Israel achieve energy independence and what is becoming of resources discovered in the Palestinian territories. The following is an edited transcription of their conversation.

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re sepsis cure?

Anne's Opinions

The latest in my Good News Friday series.

Via Haifa Diarist, reporting from Israel 21C, we learn of yet another brilliant Israeli invention which saves lives; this time it is a non-invasive system to prevent sepsis.

“Sepsis is a huge issue — one of the top killers, often as a complication of pneumonia or urinary tract infection and at times due to an infection acquired in the hospital,” says Dr. Yoav Avidor, CEO of Tel Aviv-based Cheetah Medical. “It progresses rapidly and is difficult to treat. In advanced sepsis, all the body’s organs start to fail. Septic shock sets in and the mortality rate is about 40 percent.”

Doctors can reduce mortality up to 40 percent by treating each case of sepsis right away with exactly the amount of intravenous fluids needed to correct imbalances of oxygen and other nutrients being delivered to the organs through the…

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Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report Thursday, Jul. 12 ’12, Tammuz 22, 5772

Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report


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Thursday, Jul. 12 ’12, Tammuz 22, 5772










Israeli fighter pilots have killed at least one terrorist and wounded three others in an air strike on the Gaza city of Zeitoun.


The strike, carried out Thursday, came in response to numerous attacks on southern Israel by Hamas terrorists over the past week.


Palestinian Authority sources said the attack took place east of Gaza City. One of the wounded was critically injured, according to the Gaza health ministry, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported.


IDF sources confirmed the strike but not the number of wounded or killed.


Earlier in the day, IDF Armored Corps artillery forces attacked a Hamas terror cell in a joint operation with IAF aircraft. The cell, operating within Gaza, was in the process of preparing to launch an anti-tank missile at Israeli soldiers patrolling the security fence along the Gaza border.


On Monday, Kibbutz Yad Mordechai was targeted in anti-tank missile and sniper fire aimed at a group of farmers in a field, and vehicles that included a child’s infant seat.


The baby seat was directly targeted, and the sniper didn’t miss: a bullet hole pierced the center of the back of the infant’s seat. Miraculously, the 7-month-old who usually occupied the seat was not there at the time.








Israel’s Tourism Ministry is planning to upgrade the hotel strip area at the southern end of the Dead Sea.


Recommendations from a committee formed to explore the issue included development of the region between “Hamei Tzohar” – the Tzohar hot springs – and Ein Bokek.


Among the projects under consideration are construction of hotel rooms at various standards, architecture “that reflects the desert landscape” and development of a boardwalk along the shore, ministry officials said.


“This is an opportunity to design the region for generations,” commented Tourism Ministry Stas Misezhnikov.


“We have made a significant step in the rehabilitation of the Dead Sea region and the tourism facilities in the area. According to the schedule, within nine months a new plan will be presented with the suggested design for hotels and tourism in the area.”


Senior representatives from the hotel and tourism industries met with architects and engineers to discuss development of the region following the government decision to accept recommendations of the Tourism Minister and Minister of Environmental Protection to rehabilitate the region.


A total of NIS 859 million is to be invested in the effort over the next five years, officials said.


The Dead Sea Preservation Government Company (DSPGC), together with a national interdisciplinary team has been placed in charge of creating a comprehensive plan to be submitted to the Minister of Tourism.


DSPGC CEO Shimon Daniel said the plan will include upgrades for existing hotels as well as reconstruction of new ones. The plan also focuses on creating attractions outside of the hotels, such as restaurants, shopping centers, and more, he noted. A total of 12 to 16 new hotels are slated to be built in the region over the next 10 years, according to the development plan, with 4,000 additional hotel rooms.



The Dead Sea was the most crowded leisure destination in Israel in 2011, with some 857,000 visitors during the year.


Data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2011 showed that hotel occupancy at the Dead Sea averaged at 77 percent, as compared with 75.3 percent in Tel Aviv, and 67 percent in Eilat, and with a consistent growth rate of 43 percent over the past five years.


Hotel revenue at the Dead Sea reached NIS 1.096 billion in 2011. As part of the Law to Encourage Capital Investment, the Tourism Ministry has allocated NIS 9 million in grants for entrepreneurs who wish to develop or expand hotels in the Dead Sea region, as specific in accordance with the conditions for the grant. The deadline for submission of proposals is August 15, 2012.









Turkey announced that it has not found traces of explosives on the ruins of a fighter jet it has claimed was downed by Syria, raising new questions about the incident that inflamed tensions between the two countries, AFP reported.


“No traces of explosives or flammable products were found on the debris recovered from the sea,” a statement from Turkey”s general staff said on Wednesday.


For the first time, the army also declined to use the term “shot down by Syria” instead referring to “our plane that Syria claimed to have destroyed.”


Turkey has previously maintained that the F-4 Phantom was shot down in international airspace over the eastern Mediterranean by Syrian fire on June 22, further impairing relations between the one-time allies.


Two weeks after the incident, a Turkish rescue team recovered the bodies of the two pilots from the wreckage. Most of the remains, however, lie at the bottom of the Mediterranean.


“A technical investigation is ongoing on the parts we have salvaged, and on the video footage of other parts still lying at the bottom of the sea,” the statement added.


Turkish experts claim, however, that the only way of uncovering the truth behind the story that continues to make international headlines is to recover all of the wreckage.


“Syria thinks they opened fire and shot down the plane, Turkey thinks the plane was shot down. But now we have the third option that the plane might have just crashed trying to dodge fire,” the Haberturk daily quoted security analyst Nihat Ali Ozcan as saying, according to the AFP.


“The announcement from the army command does not confirm or refute Turkey”s or Syria”s explanation for that matter,” retired vice-admiral Atilla Kiyat told the same daily.


Syria maintains that the fighter was flying low in Syrian airspace when it was shot down by shore-based anti-aircraft guns. Turkish media speculated that the plane might have crashed due to pilot error or technical failure.


“I think we are increasingly witnessing politics enter into the scene here,” former air force general Erdogan Karakus told Hurriyet daily. “I am feeling Turkey might be gradually giving up on its missile claims,” he noted.


Earlier this week U.S. officials claimed that they were privy to details of the incident but refused to release such information to the press.


“Those in the American government who need to know [details] know them,” a U.S. Foreign Affairs official told Hurriyet Daily. “But we will make no statements about the topics in question.”







Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz on Wednesday signed a special directive to cut import duties and taxes on hundreds of items, including electrical appliances, food, and clothing. The tax cuts were recommended by the Trajtenberg Committee, Globes reported.


The customs cuts will go into effect immediately, and follow on the previous cut, which totaled NIS 387 million, in January.


Today’s directives eliminate altogether customs duties of 8-12% on a range of consumer goods, such as clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, fans, humidifiers, hair dryers, toasters, electric sheets and blankets, electric tooth brushes, coffeemakers, irons, toasters, candles, headphones, light bulbs, sunglasses, protective goggles, reading glasses, sinks, and various batteries.


In a supplementary move to the January 2012 tax cut on textiles, customers on a number of finished textiles items will be abolished on January 1, 2013. At the same time, customs duties on manufactured goods and consumer items on which no duties are actively collected, will be cut by 10%, in order to encourage imports. On January 1, 2014, the customs duties on manufactured goods will be cut by 15%.


Quotas and taxes on food items will be gradually reduced by 2015, including meat, eggs, sausages, juices, spices, nuts, dried fruits, mushrooms, and jams, according to Globes.





Prices on a wide range of goods imported to Israel are set to be slashed, after Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Wednesday signed an order cutting import duties and purchase taxes on electrical appliances, entertainment systems, and food imports. The cuts begin going into effect on October 1, and Finance Ministry officials said they hoped that the tax cuts will significantly lower the cost of living for Israelis.


Import duties on a wide range of electrical appliances and consumer items, including washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, fans, toasters, coffee makers, irons, lightbulbs, glasses, and many more, have been cut to between 8% and 12% of the value of the item.


On some items, import duties have been canceled altogether, the Ministry said. In addition, a 15% purchase tax on entertainment items, such as TV sets, home movie systems, DVD players, computer screens, and other items will be eliminated altogether. A Ministry spokesperson said that the duty cuts would cost the state treasury NIS 440 million ($130 million).


Duties on many imported food items are set to be slashed as well. For example, duty on imported fresh meat products will be cut from the current level of 190% to 90% over the coming four years. Duties on imported spices, nuts, and dried fruits will drop from around 16% of the value of the item to between 4% and 8%. And imported ice cream duty will fall from its current 13% rate to 4% within four years.







German prosecutors have launched an investigation into a 91-year-old man suspected of taking part in a 1942 massacre of over 300 Jews from the Zhytomyr ghetto in Ukraine, a local daily reported Monday.


“There is suspicion that this man is guilty of involvement in the murder of 360 people,” spokeswoman Petra Hertwig for the Cottbus prosecutor’s office told the Markische Allgemeine daily, according to the AFP.


“We’re looking into whether there is also material for other investigations,” she added, without revealing details.


The man, referred to only as Herbert N., belonged to the SS commando suspected of having killed Jews, including women and children, from the Zhitomir ghetto.


In October 1942, 60 Jews from the ghetto were driven in trucks to a forest approximately 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Zhytomyr in central Ukraine, where six German soldiers killed them and tossed their remains into a mass grave.


The following month 30 other soldiers from the commando massacred 300 more Jews in similar circumstances by shooting them in groups of 60, according to the daily.


One of the major obstacles facing the investigation lies in the difficulty of rounding up witnesses 70 years after the massacre. The first witness to report the slaughter in 1947 was a prisoner of war in the ex-Soviet Union and died in 1971.


In 1985, the prosecutor’s office in the western city of Wiesbaden abandoned proceedings against the head of the unit responsible for the massacres amid doubts over the truth of witness testimony, according to the AFP.


Herbert N.’s name first surfaced when the state body tasked with uncovering Nazi criminals was searching for witnesses in another case.









The Representative of the Irish Chair-in-Office of the Organisation for Security in Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, has urged Bosnia to end practices of discrimination against its Roma and Jewish minorities, whose members cannot run for high elected office, AFP reported.


“There is no excuse to discriminate against anyone, especially minorities,” Creighton said in a statement.


“This is especially important in a post-conflict society,” she said in a reference to Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war.


“We in Ireland know very well how difficult it is to build trust between communities but we have also seen the tangible economic and social benefits that overcoming those divisions can bring,” she added.


Bosnia’s constitution makes a clear distinction between “constituent peoples,” namely Bosniaks (Muslims), Croats and Serbs and “others,” categorized as Jews, Roma and other minorities.


Posts in the Bosnian parliament are reserved for the three “constituent nations,” under regulations that were intended to prevent ethnic strife in the aftermath of the war.


In 2009, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Bosnia for barring Jews and Romas from running for high elected office. The Strasbourg-based tribunal ruled that the Balkan country was violating provisions of the convention prohibiting discrimination and upheld the right to free elections, AFP reported.


Creighton discussed the issue with Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija and chairman of the country’s tripartite presidency Bakir Izetbegovic.


A reform of the constitution is one of the main conditions for Bosnia to obtain European Union candidacy status.





Likud MK Danny Danon welcomed 229 new English-speaking immigrants to the Jewish State on Thursday, but noted there are still more illegal aliens flooding the country than new immigrants and encouraged Jews from outside the country to consider moving back “home.”




While the arrival of the plane full of North American olim Thursday morning was being celebrated by Israelis, Danon, who is Chairman of the Knesset Aliyah Committee, said that despite the joy Israelis felt when seeing new immigrants, it was unfortunate that there were more illegal aliens infiltrating the country via the border with the Sinai Peninsula than olim entering the country via Ben Gurion International Airport.


Danon participated in the ceremony at the airport Thursday morning, as 229 people, including 100 children and 59 singles, arrived in the first chartered El Al flight of summer 2012. They are among the 2,500 olim who will be arriving this summer on Nefesh B”Nefesh aliyah flights, in full cooperation with the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.


Speaking at the ceremony, Danon said that “it does not make sense that each year more illegal aliens from Africa enter Israel than do Jewish olim from the entire world. We must fight to maintain the Jewish nature of the State of Israel and increase activity to raise the number of olim coming to Israel.”


Danon added that “there is no doubt that aliyah, immigration to Israel, is the victory of the Jewish people, and Nefesh B’Nefesh, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, is an important cause for ensuring that Israel remains Jewish.”

A7News: Obama May Lose the Vote but Win the Election


Tammuz 21, 5772 / Wednesday, Jul. 11 ’12



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  1. 1.      Obama May Lose the Vote but Win the Election
  2. 2.      Winner: ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank’
  3. 3.      Jewish Woman Rescued from Arab Village – after 28 Years
  4. 4.      Pro-Israel Lawmaker Shelley Berkley Facing Ethics Charges
  5. 5.      US Refuses to Reveal Details on Downed Turkish Jet
  6. 6.      Corruption Charges Fuel Move to Cut US Aid to PA
  7. 7.      Psychiatric Evaluation for Jewish School Firebomber
  8. 8.      Kenya Police: Iranians Shipped 100kg of Explosives


1. Obama May Lose the Vote but Win the Election

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The neck-and-neck polls look good for GOP candidate Mitt Romney but hide President Barack Obama’s electoral vote advantage.

The latest polls continue to show that more Americans are displeased with Obama as president than those who think he is doing a good job. Virtually all polls show potential voters evenly divided, with a small gap either way falling within the margin or error of polls.

But the America system of electoral votes – whereby even a one-vote win in any given state gives the winner all of the “electoral college” votes – shows President Obama with a decent lead.

The more populous the state, the more electoral votes it has. The system leaves several large states that are not solidly behind either candidate the “swing states” that could decide the election in November.

However, Obama is comfortably ahead in the “certain” states, with a lead of 242 to 150 among 538 electoral votes.

The missing 146 votes are in 12 “swing states,” of which Florida and Ohio are the largest. Romney needs to win almost all 12 to gain the needed 270 electoral votes to unlock the White House door.

President Obama leads Romney by a thin 2 percent margin in the 12 states, meaning that if elections were held today, Romney might be close to winning a majority of the popular vote, but the electoral college system for the time being leaves President Obama safely in the White House.

Two keys factors, besides any surprise events, could determine who wins: Iran and the unemployment vote.

Iran is a wild card, and the Obama administration clearly is trying to silence any furor over any imminent threat of an attack on its nuclear facilities or on the possibility that it may soon gain nuclear capability.

Unemployment is the overwhelming factor now. The U.S. economy is struggling to keep its ahead above recession level; and a worsening of the 8.2 percent jobless rate, which is reported every month, could be disastrous for him. On the other hand, an improvement could clinch a defeat for Romney.


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2. Winner: ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank’

by Rachel Hirshfeld

Jewish-American author Nathan Englander’s short story collection titled “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” won the 2012 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.

The panel of judges praised it as “powerful and resonant”, and said that they were impressed by “the seasoned maturity shown by the author in stories multilayered in meaning and written in an austere, contemporary idiom applied to ancient ethnic themes”.

“His prose, like the snow of good King Wenceslas, is deep and crisp and even, neither over-florid nor pedestrian,” said judge and poet James Harpur. “Nathan Englander’s stories are always well crafted, establishing a premise that has the promise of drama and tension: an upright citizen going to a peep show; a woman symbolically selling her child to a neighbour; the summer camp that begins to revive memories of a concentration camp; taking revenge on an antisemite bully.”

The story from which the collection takes its title is a homage to Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” and portrays two Jewish couples playing “the Righteous Gentile game”, which necessitates discussing which of their acquaintances would protect them in the event of a Holocaust, The Guardian explains.

The collection of stories won out over collections by Israeli writer Etgar Keret, as well as Sarah Hall and Kevin Barry.

The prize is funded by Cork City Council and was established by the Munster Literature Centre in memory of renowned short story writer Frank O’Connor.

This year, Englander also teamed up with Jewish-American author Jonathan Safran Foer to publish the “New American Haggadah,” a more modern take on the traditional Passover Haggadah.


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3. Jewish Woman Rescued from Arab Village – after 28 Years

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu


A dramatic rescue takes a Jewish woman and her two young children out of the clutches of a brutal Palestinian Authority Arab husband with whom she lived for 28 years.

The anti-missionary Yad L’Achim organization, which also works on behalf of Jewish women trapped in relationships with Arabs, revealed the extraordinary story, after “Dinah, the daughter of Leah,” was safely back among Jews.

Dinah was born in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Lod 48 years ago but became estranged from her family during an emotional crisis, which led her to a relationship with an Arab man.

Since then, she was declared as missing, and her family did not know whether she was dead or alive. At one point, Israeli authorities mistakenly thought they had identified her in a morgue.

She lived with her husband in a Palestinian Authority Arab village in the area of Tulkarm, east of Netanya. She said her husband traumatized her and once tied her to a tree for 13 hours, without food or water The husband said he wanted “everyone to see what will happen to you” if she were to leave the house with permission.

Three weeks ago, ties were suddenly re-established with her family, which finally had a sign that Dinah was still alive. They contacted Yad L’Achim officials, who were given her telephone number and other personal information that enabled them to go into action to rescue her.

When they first got in touch with Dinah, she begged them, “Get me back to my homeland.”

With the help of Interior Minister Eli Yishai and the IDF, special permits were prepared for Dinah and her children to cross the checkpoint near Tulkarm after the rescue, which was carried out in strict secrecy.

This past Sunday evening, her husband gave Dinah 12 shekels to travel with her two children in a taxi to a clinic for medical care Monday morning.

In a pre-arranged scheme, she and her children got out of the cab shortly after it left the village and hurriedly got into a rescue vehicle that Yad Latham sent, with advance permission from a senior IDF officer. Soldiers at the checkpoint had been alerted to allow the vehicle to enter the Palestinian Authority for the rescue operation.

During the journey of nearly an hour to the checkpoint, Yad L’Achim instructed its workers to stop what they were doing and say Psalms for the safe return of Dinah.

The rescue vehicle returned to the checkpoint, and the soldiers confirmed they saw the mother and her two children in the rescue vehicle.

Once past the checkpoint, the vehicle stopped, and Dinah burst into tears, along with the soldiers.

The children begged her, “Mommy, promise us you never will go back there again.”

One of Dinah’s first actions was to take off her Muslim garb and tell Yad L’Achim officials, “Throw them in the trash can.”

The organizations’ social workers are treating her and she is staying at a secret location in central Israel, after having made contact with her family.

She filed a complaint with police against her Arab husband’s brutality. Police said they doubted that Palestinian Authority police would take any action against her but added that if he steps one foot beyond the checkpoint, he will be arrested.


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4. Pro-Israel Lawmaker Shelley Berkley Facing Ethics Charges

by Rachel Hirshfeld

The House Ethics Committee has launched an investigation into US Representative Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), an ardent supporter of Israel in Congress. The investigation may complicate her bid for a seat in the US Senate.

Berkley has been widely seen as a formidable threat to the future of Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller.

The investigation, backed unanimously by Democrats and Republicans on the committee, will focus on allegations that Berkley’s championing of kidney care benefited the interests of her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner, a leading kidney specialist in Nevada.

Over the last five years, Berkley allegedly pushed legislation in an effort to pursue an agenda that is aligned with the business interests of her husband.

“The Committee noted that the mere fact of establishing an investigative subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred,” said a statement from the Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives.

Berkley’s office said she was “pleased with the committee’s decision to conduct a full and fair investigation, which will ensure all the facts are reviewed.”

Commentary Magazine’s Jonathan Tobin writes that, “Any opportunity to knock off a GOP incumbent is a matter of life for the Democrats’ hopes of keeping at least half of Congress in their possession. That has made the battle for Nevada’s Senate seat one of the most watched races in the country, especially because challenger Rep. Shelley Berkley has been widely seen as a formidable threat to the future of Republican incumbent Dean Heller.”

While Berkley and her husband may have profited from her actions, “there was no criminal conspiracy or criminal intent,” Tobin writes.

“Those eager to make political hay about this should remember that being the champion of doctors who serve kidney patients in need is not quite the same thing as throwing your weight around on behalf of some oil contractor or other special interest,” he adds.

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5. US Refuses to Reveal Details on Downed Turkish Jet

by Rachel Hirshfeld

U.S. officials claim they know the details regarding the Turkish jet downed by Syria last month, but refuse to reveal them to the public.

“Those in the American government who need to know [details] know them,” a U.S. Foreign Affairs official told Hurriyet Daily. “But we will make no statements about the topics in question.”

Declining to explain why a Pentagon official leaked rumors to the Washington Post claiming that the jet was over Syrian waters when it was shot down, the official, requesting anonymity, said the details were inconsequential to the American government.

“Whether the jet was shot over Syrian territory or over international waters, or what it was shot with, what difference does it make? What matters to us is that it was downed,” the official said, according to Hurriyet.

“Turkey thought the louder its statements were, the more believable they would be,” the official said. “I guess that was why the prime minister made those statements. It’s like an American shouting to someone who doesn’t speak English. We, however, will not say anything on the matter.”

Turkey and U.S. are “90 percent” on the same page on the crisis in Syria, the official said, citing Turkey’s “more interventionist” attitude as a difference between the countries’ views.

There have been speculations in Turkey as to why President Barack Obama did not call Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately following the downing of the jet, when the two leaders were known to have exchanged 13 phone calls in the last year.

Providing a possible reason for the lack of contact, the official said, “There are elections in the U.S. this year. And when foreign affairs are discussed during American elections, the only thing that matters is Israel’s security. That should be taken into consideration in the progress of relations.”

“We clearly don’t want to intervene in Syria,” the official said. “But we cannot say that is a direct reason [for Obama not to call].”

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6. Corruption Charges Fuel Move to Cut US Aid to PA

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Palestinian Authority said the Obama administration has warned it will cut aid if it goes to the United Nations again for recognition. In Congress, opposition to aiding the Palestinian Authority was fueled by charges that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has “lined his pockets.”

Khaled Mesmar, a Palestinian Authority official of the Political Committee of the Palestinian National Council, admitted on Tuesday that the United States has “threatened to cut off financial aid to the Palestinian Liberation Office in Washington if the Palestinian leadership submitted another membership bid to the United Nations.”

He said the threat was delivered through official channels during a recent visit to Ramallah by an American envoy.

Mesmar said that the PA took the threats seriously but has not yet decided to go ahead with another appeal to the United Nations Security Council for membership, which would entail recognition of the Palestinian Authority as an independent country based on its own definition of borders.

Abbas dropped a bid last year when it was clear he would lose, although by one vote.

Mesmar also said that the Obama administration threatened to cut off aid unless it drops all pre-conditions for talking directly with Israel over the status and borders of the PA. Abbas has said “negotiations” with Israel can begin if Jerusalem stops all building for Jews in areas claimed by the Palestinian Authority. It wants the talks based on a foregone conclusion that it be granted its self-defined territorial borders.

Meanwhile, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a subcommittee hearing Tuesday under the unwieldy name of “Chronic Kleptocracy: Corruption within the Palestinian Political Establishment.”

In testimony posted live on its website, committee chairman Steve Chabot, a Ohio Republican, asserted that the West is making a mistake by looking at “the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza, but instead of highlighting the ways that the Hamas terrorist leadership mismanages the local economy or gives Israel justifiable cause for concern, we are told that an Israeli blockade is to blame.

“Similarly, instead of calling attention to the omnipresent and insidious corruption within the PLO and Fatah leadership in the West Bank, we are told that Israeli settlements, many of which will surely not be a part of any future Palestinian state, are the true problem.”

He charged that reports indicate Abbas “line[s] his own pockets as well as those of his cohort of cronies, including his sons…who have enriched themselves with U.S. taxpayer money.”

Elliott Abrams, former advisor to President George E. Bush and now a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the subcommittee, “Listen to the words of the man who was charged with rooting out public corruption, Fathi Shabaneh, and who resigned in 2010:

‘In his pre-election platform, President Abbas promised to end financial corruption and implement major reforms, but he hasn’t done much since then. Unfortunately, Abbas has surrounded himself with many of the thieves and officials who were involved in theft of public funds and who became icons of financial corruption.’”

Abrams warned, “If we turn a blind eye to corruption, and to persecution of those who expose it, we are in a very real way contributing to the problem and undermining those Palestinians who wish to build public integrity into their system.”

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7. Psychiatric Evaluation for Jewish School Firebomber

by Rachel Hirshfeld

Omar Bulphred, the man found guilty of firebombing a Jewish boys school in Montreal in 2006, has been ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric evaluation after being arrested on new charges.

Bulphred, 27, was arrested Friday just a month after he completed his sentence on June 11 and is facing charges of breaching his release conditions, loitering and uttering death threats.

Bulphred was schedule to appear in court for a bail hearing Monday, but instead his lawyer asked that his client undergo a psychiatric evaluation at the Pinel Institute, noted CBC News.

He was incarcerated for firebombing the Skver-Toldos Jewish Boys School in the Outremont neighborhood of Montreal in September 2006 and attempting to bomb the YM-YWHA Ben Weider Jewish Community Center the following April.

In 2009, Bulphred admitted to writing letters claiming the crimes were committed in the name of Islamic Jihad.

“I’m sorry to the Jewish community. My actions were cowardly,” Bulphred told the court.

In February 2009, Judge Louise Bourdeau sentenced Bulphred, who was 21 at the time, for pleading guilty to three counts of arson and two of uttering threats. He served a seven-year sentence.

Bulphred will be back in court on August 13.

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8. Kenya Police: Iranians Shipped 100kg of Explosives

by Rachel Hirshfeld

Two Iranians, suspected of being members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, an elite and secretive unit that acts against foreign interests, have been accused of planning attacks on Israeli, American, British or Saudi Arabian interests in the country.

They allegedly shipped more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of powerful explosive into the East African country, most of which has not yet been recovered, a police officer told a court Tuesday.

Iranian nationals Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi are charged with preparing to commit acts intended to cause grievous harm after they were arrested last month and led officials to a 15-kilogram (33-pound) stash of the explosive RDX, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Police Sgt. Erick Opagal, an investigator with Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, asked the court to deny the two suspects bail because more than 85 kilograms (187 pounds) of the explosive authorities say was shipped into Kenya has not been found.

“The police have information that the applicants (suspects) have a vast network in the country meant to execute explosive attacks against government installations, public gatherings and foreign establishments,” Opagal said in an affidavit, telling the court that granting bail would allow the suspects to continue planning attacks.

Iranian agents are suspected of perpetrating several successful or thwarted attacks, especially against Israeli interests, around the world over the last year.

In 2002, terrorists bombed an Israeli-owned luxury hotel near the coastal city of Mombasa, killing 13 people. The perpetrators also tried to shoot down an Israeli airliner at the same time. An al-Qaida operative was linked to those attacks.

One of the Iranian’s lawyers, David Kirimi, said Tuesday the prosecution was “blowing the matter out of proportion” and claimed that his clients were sickly men, one with a liver condition and the other a heart ailment, and that their detention was further damaging their health, according to the AP.

Prosecutor Daniel Musangi urged the court to deny bail, due to the fact that the two were in Kenya on tourist visas and argued that they were released, they would likely flee the country.

Magistrate Paul Biwott said he would rule on the bail application on Monday.

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Anne's Opinions

Justice Edmond Levy, who was appointed by PM Netanyahu to head a committee to review the legal status of the settlements, has issued an extremely important statement (my emphases):

Israel must legalize the majority of illegal West Bank outposts, a committee appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to review the legal status of such communities recommended, Ynet learned Monday.

The panel, headed by Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Edmond Levy, also ruled that the State must devise ways to “ease land acquisition and zoning protocols for Jews residing in Judea and Samaria.”

The Levy Committee, formed in January and comprised of Levy, Tel Aviv District Court Judge (Ret.) Tehiya Shapira and Dr. Alan Baker an international law expert, who was part of the team that devised the Oslo Accords, met harsh criticism from the Left, which claimed it was biased.

That’s rich coming from the Left, since the esteemed…

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