Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday: In The News

30% Increase In Anti-Semitic Incidents Worldwide In 2012

The European Jewish Congress found a 30 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the world in 2012, according to an annual report the organization published on Sunday in cooperation with Tel Aviv University.
The study linked the surge to Europe’s economic troubles and a deadly attack on Jewish schoolchildren last year in Toulouse, France.

In Europe, Hungary was identified as experiencing the most worrying anti-Semitic trends and a “correlation was observed between the political strengthening of extreme right parties and the high level of anti-Semitic manifestations, including incidents of violence and vandalism,” the study revealed.
Greece and the Ukraine were also seeing similar trends of extreme right-wing parties whose anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric have apparently helped ignite attacks.
Tel Aviv University said Sunday that 686 attacks were recorded in 34 countries, ranging from physical violence to vandalism of synagogues and cemeteries, compared to 526 in 2011. The sharp increase followed a two-year decline.

The ongoing cyberattack against Israel is a reminder that every generation employs its technological developments to attack Jews, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman said Sunday, noting that Israel must now defend itself against stones, the Internet and the Iranian threat.
The cyberattack campaign targeting Israeli government and commercial websites failed to cause serious disruption as of Sunday morning, but experts warned it would reach its peak toward the evening.
From the days of slavery in Egypt through the Holocaust until today, enemies of Israel used technology “to try and satisfy their anti-Semitic, primitive and dark wishes,” Liberman wrote on his Facebook page.

“It’s our duty to stand guard and make sure that no Jew, in Israel or the world, will be hurt just because he is a Jew and to [make sure] the anti-Semitic schemes are cut short,” Liberman wrote.
Liberman also referred to the failed talks between Iran and the worldpowers over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, saying it proved once again that “defending the continuity of the Jewish people will remain Israel’s job.”
The situation in the Korean peninsula could be duplicated in the Middle East if Iran obtains a nuclear arsenal, Steinitz warned. North Korea managed to develop such weapons in spite of extremely harsh sanctions, and now it terrorizes South Korea, Japan and the rest of the world, he said.
“Imagine what could happen within two or three years not only to Israel but to Europe, the US and the whole world” if Iran became a nuclear power, Steinitz warned.

A stunning, unexpected statement from the EU:

Iran and six world powers failed to reach agreement Saturday on how to reduce fears that Tehran might use its nuclear technology to make weapons, extending a series of inconclusive talks and adding to concerns the diplomatic window on reaching a deal with Tehran may soon close.
Expectations the negotiations were making progress rose as an afternoon session continued into the evening. But comments by the two sides made clear that they failed to make enough headway to qualify the meeting as a success.
“What matters in the end is substance, and … we are still a considerable distance apart,” Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s head of foreign policy, told reporters at the end of the two-day talks.
Ashton said negotiators would now consult with their capitals. She made no mention of plans for a new meeting — another sign that the gap dividing the two sides remains substantial. She said she would talk with chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili by telephone over further steps.

While no breakthrough had been expected, the lack of headway in international negotiations that started 10 years ago was certain to increase concerns that diplomacy was ineffective as a tool to stop Iran from moving toward nuclear-weapon making capacity.
Israel is most worried. The Jewish state says Iran is only a few months away from the threshold of having material to turn into a bomb and has vowed to use all means to prevent it from reaching that point. The U.S. has not said what its “red line” is, but has said it will not tolerate an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.

Last week international computer hackers operating under the umbrella group Anonymous threatened to "erase Israel from the Internet" in a massive coordinated attack scheduled for today. By mid-morning Sunday, that attack had largely failed, and Israeli hackers had scored some blows of their own against the foreign assailants.
There was an increase in cyber attacks against Israeli government computer systems and the websites of local banks, as well as numerous smaller websites and networks. But nearly all of those attacks were repelled by Israel's growing network of cyber defenses.
"There is hardly any real damage," Yitzhak Ben Yisrael of Israel's National Cyber Bureau told the Associated Press. "Anonymous doesn't have the skills to damage the country's vital infrastructure."
A number of smaller Israeli websites were defaced temporarily, and in retaliation Israeli hackers defaced the websites of Islamist groups across the region.
More impressively, Israeli hackers penetrated the website associated with the Anonymous campaign against Israel - Instead of reading about Anonymous' anti-Israel views, those visiting on Sunday morning were instead presented with a pro-Israel banner and a long list of facts regarding the legitimacy of Israel and the history of the Jewish people.
The Israelis were operating under the newly formed banner of the Israeli Elite Strike Force.

Abbas will maintain that his “intifada” is nonviolent – consisting “only” of mass protest marches, burning Israeli flags, pelting its security forces with rocks and Molotov cocktails, blocking West Bank highways, and staging collective hunger strikes.

 Abbas and his lieutenants have been fanning popular Palestinian unrest toward a climax planned to build up as an accompaniment to the first Israeli-Palestinian meeting which the US Secretary is trying to set up for mid-May in Turkey.

Kerry will no doubt warn him that even a civil disturbance may quickly get out of hand in the tense climate pervading the Middle East and benefit radical Syria, Hizballah and Hamas rather than the Palestinians’ own interests.
Abbas will counter that he can no longer keep the Palestinians in check when the rest of the Arab world is on the march – either protesting against or battling its rulers – and his job is to keep his people in the Arab flow - not on the sidelines (not to mention diverting them from protests against his own rule).

Abbas has decided to take a leaf out of the shooting-while-talking textbook which brought his predecessor Yasser Arafat fame, fortune and power thirteen years ago.

Although he calls his intifada nonviolent, he will unleash a wave of rowdy disruptions to grab front pages and extra leverage at the US-sponsored dialogue with Israel, while pretending to play ball with John Kerry, in exactly the same way that Arafat feigned cooperation with the peace efforts of former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.

Any violent occurrence will serve to cast the blame on Israeli security authorities and so further inflame the disorders.

Israel was given a foretaste of these tactics Monday April 1, when Abu Hamadiyeh, 64, who was serving a life sentence for attempted multiple murder, died of throat cancer while under treatment at an Israeli hospital. Mahmoud Abbas immediately seized on this death to lambaste Israel with accusations of “criminal negligence.” Thousands of Palestinian prisoners rioted and went on hunger strike. Calm was only restored with the help of tear gas.

Yet again, Gaza terrorists have been firing rockets into Israel. Yet again, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, has written a letter asking the UN Security Council to condemn these attacks. This follows Prosor’s many letters of 2012 to the Security Council, sent month after month, chronicling Gaza rocket attacks on Israel, and asking the Security Council to act. The Security Council did nothing, until Israel, last November, finally acted in its own defense to try to shut down the sources of the rocket fire. At that point, the Security Council went into emergency session, and high UN officials — all the way up to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon –  bestirred themselves to stop the hostilities. Within days, that produced an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal. But by February, Prosor had to resume his letter-writing campaign. Hamas-controlled Gaza had resumed its rocket attacks on Israel.

The pace of the rocket attacks is picking up. Prosor’s latest letter, dated April 4, notes that “Over the past four days, Gaza terrorists have fired 11 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli civilians and cities. Yesterday, two of these rockets landed near the Israeli town of Sderot just as children were making their way to school for the first time since the Passover holiday.” The children and their families ended up racing for the bomb shelters that are a staple of life in Sderot, which is located within easy range of Gaza.

Urging the Security Council to condemn these attacks, Prosor writes that “The only thing more deafening than the sirens that go off in Israel when a rocket is fired is the international community’s silence.”
Actually, Prosor is being more than polite in his summary of the UN scene. While the Security Council may shrug off Gaza rocket attacks on Israel (unless Israel acts to defend itself), some UN officials have been piping up. On April 3, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, urged that there be restraint —not by the terrorists, but by Israel.
Now, in April, comes Serry’s statement, for which the UN press office headline is no longer calling for restraint from all parties, but instead homes in on just one: “UN envoy condemns rocket firing from Gaza, calls for restraint from Israel.” One might well wonder — were these rocket-firing Palestinian terrorists attacking UN offices, instead of Israeli schoolchildren, would UN officials still be demanding that the party under attack be the one to show restraint? Or would they perhaps be demanding in no uncertain terms that someone restrain the terrorists?

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