This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Islam's Brotherhood

"If the world does not agree to support a peaceful solution through dialogue ... then I see no light at the end of the tunnel.
"Neither the opposition nor the regime can finish each other off. The most dangerous thing in this process is that if the opposition is victorious, there will be a civil war in Lebanon, divisions in Jordan and a sectarian war in Iraq."
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq

The Islamic Republic of Iran is funding and arming the Syrian regime. Hezbollah, which has military control of Lebanon is also in Syria, fighting alongside the regime's military and the Iranian Republican Guard. Iraq is now firmly in the corner of the Shia world with its new sponsors in Iran, making a tidy little geographic barricade against Sunni insurgency there. Syria's sponsor Russia is part of that little conspiracy.

The Sunni majority in Syria has revolted against the reigning Shia minority Allawite Baath party of President Bashar al-Assad. Funding the Sunni rebel army and its Sunni political coalition is Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and surreptitiously, the European Union and the United States. With the full knowledge that behind the Sunni rebels there are terrorist groups, well seasoned in combat and well armed, from the Islamic Maghreb.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups lurk in the rebel background, awaiting their opportunity, just as they have done elsewhere, with the result in Egypt that they now form the government. In Jordan the Muslim Brotherhood spoils there too for a confrontation with the Hashemite Kingdom. The choice is the Shia Islamists or the Sunni Islamists.

Peaceful dialogue? Between the virulently rabid Islamist groups on either side? Iraq has its own tensions that have arisen because the Shia majority failed to share governance with the minority Sunni which had formerly under Saddam Hussein's Baath party ruled and oppressed the Shia and the Kurds. Radical Islamist ideologies are represented by both the Shia and the Sunni fundamentalists; each sect detesting the other, and ripe for confrontation.

"There are people who are trying to foment violence in Syria. These countries' histories are intertwined, and so we have concerns about sectarian violence and Iraq, as well.
"All the neighbours are concerned about the spillover. We're doing everything we can to end that violence and provide a future that's more stable for Syria and that would be more stable for Iraq as well", explained Patrick Ventrell, U.S. State Department spokesman.

And good luck with that. It didn't work out all that well with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, unleashing sectarian vitriol and horrendous bloodshed with the Shia feasting on the blood of the Sunnis and the Sunnis returning the compliments in spades. As it is, Iranian arms are transiting Iraq to Syria, so the neutral position that Iraq espouses and its pleas for reasonable accommodation sound rather hollow.

It is anyone's guess whether there will ever exist peaceful accommodation in the Arab world between Sunni and Shia Islamists.  The grotesque spectacle of Arab on Arab, vilification of the Shia by the Sunni and ghastly raids where atrocities are committed against civilian populations demonstrate the thin veneer of civilization and the pacifying effect of sharing a religious faith calling for peace between its members.

The only unifying force between them all, from Turkey to Qatar, Saudi Arabia to Iran, is their shared hatred of the presence of a non-Muslim state in the Middle East, an affront to Islam. And it is toward Israel and its 'oppressive' presence that all the parties in the Middle East hatefest can turn for an accusation-and-cause that they are unable to behave in a civilized manner toward one another.

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Diplomatic Intevention

"A diplomat's mission is to build bridges and bring people together, not to foster confrontation. These diplomats have evidently failed at this mission."
Yigal Palmor, spokesman, Israeli foreign ministry
NGOs have their own agenda, generally speaking. They are of a fixed mind when it comes to the status of oppressor/oppressed with respect to the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority which enjoys nascent-state status, aspiring to the full recognition of officially blessed sovereignty. Which, in fact, the PA has been meticulous about putting off for another day.

Far preferring to cast stones at its erstwhile partner in peace discussions with a view of clearing up controversial issues between itself and Israel. Declaring Israel to be an aggressor against the wishes of the Palestinian people to become fully self-administered, as a functioning state with world recognition. But incapable of reaching that desired pinnacle because of Israeli intransigence.

A strangely palatable situation to the European Union whose canted bias remains steadfastly in the favour of the manipulative PA, portraying itself as the world's longest-lasting victim of Jewish aggression. A geography meant to be shared, being stealthily overtaken by illegal means. On the other hand, there is nothing evidently illegal about violent attacks replacing genuine confabs for peace.

There are endless demands that Israel surrender to Palestinian needs and desires. And when it does with the exasperated realization that this will be the only manner in which discussions can take place and a separate state achieved, the PA-appointed bargainers loftily declare themselves dissatisfied and leave the bargaining table.

This ancient, dessicated history of two solitudes and grave dysfunction is somehow handily overlooked with the bare bones scaffolding of Israeli West Bank settlements presenting as conspiratorial evidence of sandbagging peace efforts. The more time that elapses, the greater the settlements represent an upheaval of rational planning for a two-state solution.

Israel is prepared and willing to carve out in equal measure land currently within its borders with majority Muslim populations to trade off with the West Bank settlements, a reasonable enough solution to what is calculated to be an intractable situation of Israeli intransigence. It is not deemed by the EU to be intransigence when the 'right of return' is demanded, when it is demanded that Israel surrender its most holy Judaic heritage site to the possession of Muslims once again.

The European Union and its diplomats and politicians have a view to staging a diplomatic solution to the stand-off between Israel and the PA respecting borders and issues, leading to a final agreement. But they were unable to resist the allure of funding NGOs to arrive at their predetermined statement of bias assigning sole blame to Israel, and recommending penalties to be attached to that blame.

In the next few weeks, it is assumed that the European Union will be prepared to embark on a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative. Their demonstrated lean toward assigning one-sided responsibility through the release of a report slamming Israel for a policy of settlement building as "systematic, deliberate and provocative", representing "the biggest single threat", to a two-state solution, does not pave the way for success.

By alienating and insultingly blaming one party, overlooking the responsibilities of the other, the stage has been set for more confrontation and blame, not a reasonable debate with any hope of reaching mutually agreeable settlements leading to a final solution of the problems facing both litigants.

Israel represents just about the only country of the world that has ever managed to defend itself from a coalition of much larger forces intent on its destruction. And in the process finally restoring its primary heritage site of immeasurable cultural and religious value from the control of those who adamantly disallowed entry to Jews.

In the history of human relations, the defending country - which managed to vanquish a conquest-determined horde - who took territory in defeating such assaults, would retain the additional land it now occupied. Israel has restored some of the land it had taken in defeating the combined Arab armies that set out repeatedly to obliterate its presence from the Middle East.

That restoration aided in the signing of peace treaties with Jordan and with Egypt. Israel knows how to be magnanimous. But its generosity and humanity are taken for granted, and none is ever expected from its adversaries. Low expectations are the norm when referring to the behaviour of the Palestinians, viewing themselves as victims, and their sympathizers.

With good enough reason on Israel's part, as its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza proved, when the Gazan Palestinians repaid the relinquishing of land through abandoning the Israeli settlements there with final withdrawal, by an explosion of attacks into Israel that saw no relief until a restraining wall was built for self-protection.

After this latest fiasco on the part of the European Union, can they really believe that trust in their ability to neutrally act as peace middleman can be respected?

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Child Predators

"I don't ever want to be caught, as u can understand. No pill on earth will control me honestly. I NEVER hurt. I treat them like gold ... they are little princes. I have ... boys I'm grooming right now."
Donald Snook, Saint John, New Brunswick

Those were Internet messages through the medium of chat rooms that took place between Donald Snook and Toronto Police Sgt. Paul Krawczyk. Who is one of the global leading investigators in the creepy-crawly world of child molesters, child exploiters, child pornographiers.

"I never would have guessed all that stuff (could be ) true", Sgt. Krawczyk said during an interview. "I have never seen it." He meant he'd never come across such devotion before in his various investigations. In chat rooms predators usually brag about their access to children whom they sexually exploit to draw the admiring attention of others.

They enjoy speaking of their access to children, exaggerating the number of boys or girls they have access to, or the amount of pornographic literature or videos they have amassed, to impress others who share their brutally destructive fringe pathology. But this contact spoke of his access and he really did have extraordinary access to vulnerable, exploitable children.

Donald Snook now faces eight charges; possessing and making child pornography, and three coutns of sexual touching. Although more victims are coming forward all the time.  This man was a city councillor, a popular one, a community activist. And he was executive director of the Inner City Youth Ministry, affiliated with the local Anglican Church.

Operating after-school clubs, a hot-lunch program for children of three city schools, the charity also sent underprivileged children to summer camps. It operates swimming and hockey programs for these needy children. At city council, Mr. Snook was known for his advocacy on behalf of children and youth.

And the man, who just couldn't do enough to advance the well-being of children, was as well a foster parent with the province. RCMP broke down the door of his home due "to exigent circumstances" as the legal warrant in the possession put it, with the knowledge that Snook had a boy in his home whom police had reason to believe "could be at risk".

Mr. Snook had been under surveillance, once it was established where the online chats were emanating from with some excellent detection work. Const.Gordon Redfurn of the Saint John's family protection unit had been involved in the surveillance of this man. The RCMP's Internet Child Exploitation unit in Fredericton became the lead investigators.

Sgt. Krawczyk's chats with Donald Snook and the information gleaned from them were transmitted to the RCMP, and eventually it all came together. The charges were laid, the man resigned from his council seat, and has been suspended from his position with the youth ministry. What he most feared when discussing the "hunt of his life" with Sgt. Krawczyk, has occurred.

And with further good fortune for justice, Donald Snook should be put out of business for a long time.

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Spending Thriftily

Little wonder politicians get such low marks from the public on issues of trust. More revelations over spendthrift senators having little regard for the trust the public does or does not regard them with. And leaving the distinct impression that Senate rules to begin with are inordinately canted toward permitting its members a trifle too much leeway in declaring their entitlements.

New revelations have been unearthed about Mac Harb, a former elected Member of Parliament, selected to sit in the Senate as a recognition of his work on behalf of the public weal. Only, it appears, his enthusiasm for good public work has waned and veered off toward self-enrichment at some cost to the public taxpayer.

Validation has arisen that this real-estate magnate's assertion that his primary residence is outside the National Capital goes beyond suspect. Indeed, since he pays taxes and casts his vote in elections within the City of Ottawa, he is deemed to be living within the 100km area of the capital, and is thus ineligible for the $40,000 he has collected in living expenses reflecting maintenance of a secondary residence in Ottawa.

But then, he is not alone. Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Dennis Patterson have all been lassoed into the same pen of petty malfeasance in declaring what is evidently untrue to enrich themselves personally at the public trough. While serving the taxpayer's best interests of course, through their activities in the Red Chamber.

Investigative reporters have turned up additional examples of questionable expenditures on the public dime. Naming Frank Mahovlich, Vivienne Poy, Don Meredith, Nancy Ruth, Salma Ataullahjan, Asha Seth, David Braley, Nicole Eaton and Irving Gerstein, all notable for their whopping travel expenses. Living in Toronto, travelling back and forth to Ottawa to dispatch their duties in the Senate of Canada.

They are entitled to travel business class all expenses paid with Via Rail which operates regularly between Toronto and the national capital. They are not required to do so by Senate rules. And if they do, there is no cost, they travel free, the four and a half hours or so it usually takes back and forth. Most, however, citing time being of the essence, opt instead to fly, and that costs.

In fact, it costs greatly - with Frank Mahovlich and Vivienne Poy for example topping the travel expense list at $96,311 and $71,256 respectively, with all others coming in well below, from $59,743 down to $42,344 for others. Mind, that's a lot of toing and froing. And it all adds up. Did we mention Linda Frum and Art Eggleton in there as well, at $43,189 and $42,344?

"As you are likely aware, the Senate committee on internal economy is reviewing these matters. I respect taxpayers. I am committed to ensuring my affairs and expenses are both appropriate and respectful of the Senate policies and rules governing them", responded Nicole Eaton to a query respecting her $36,010 travel expenses.

There are more names: "Normally, I just fly Porter and get the cheap rates. It's 40 minutes once you're on the plane. (Regarding) the trains, it just takes a long, long time. Occasionally I'll do it, but normally, you just don't have the time", responded David Smith of his $18,485 travel expenses, reasonably enough.

Taxpayers should rest easy; the Senate's committee on internal economy has been perusing senators' expense claims. All is well.

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February 28, 2013 2:15 pm 

Beppe Grillo. Photo: Wikipedia

Italian elections were held earlier this week and Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement Party garnered a quarter of all votes, making it the largest party in the country.

But the comedian turned politician’s rise isn’t good news for all, especially Israel. Grillo is a conspiracy theorist and provacateur who said of Israel during its 2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza: “The killer of children is an assassin that must be put on trial for crimes against humanity.”

According to an article on the Israel National News website written by Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, Grillo has a history of launching incendiary rhetoric towards Israel and Jews. In the past he has said “all that in Europe we know about Israel and Palestine is filtered by an international agency called MEMRI. And behind MEMRI, there is a former Mossad agent. I have the evidence: Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has used Arabic texts with independent translations and he discovered a completely different reality.” Then, according to Meotti, Grillo alluded specifically to a “Jewish conspiracy” and the need to “check” all information on the Middle East.

The list of insults continues. During one of his shows, Grillo once declared: “There is a saying that ‘where Attila has passed through, no grass will grow.’ We can say ‘where the Israelis have passed, no Palestinian will grow.’”

According to Meotti, the chairman of Milan’s synagogue, Davide Romano, went so far as to recently pronounce that “Grillo has a problem with the Jews.”

Grillo’s Facebook page and weblog is full of anti-Jewish attacks from Grillo’s readers, fans and supporters: “Israel is like Nazi Germany”, “I hope that someone will use any means to stop this killer state”, “The Jews are God’s cursed people”, “Zyklon B for you, peace and justice in Palestine”, “the Israeli leaders are monsters”, “Hamas is much better than all the Zionist governments.”

When not launching insults at Israel and Jews, Grillo tends to defend those who do. Of Mel Gibson he has said: “Israel is scary, her behavior is irresponsible.I said it. And I’m not drunk. I’m just scared for my children. Israel is behind the United States or the United States is behind Israel, which is the cause and which the effect?”

Of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Grillo said that his Iranian father-in-law explained to him that “the translations were not accurate …,” referring to Ahmadinejad’s constant calls for the destruction of Israel.

In general Grillo is an apologist for the Iranian regime, saying that the one described by the Western media is inaccurate: “Those who escape, are opposed to it. But those who remained do not have the same concerns that we have abroad. The economy there is okay, people work. It’s like South America: before it was much worse. I have a cousin who builds highways in Iran.”

Grillo has referred to the “Holocaust industry” and, Meotti concludes, has shown in his TV shows “a primitive hatred for Israel and  Western values.

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February 28, 2013 2:19 pm

Poster honoring terrorists from Beit Shean attack in which 4 were killed: Text: "Glory to the heroes of Beit Shean, the pride of the Palestinian revolution." Photo: PMW

For the second year in a row official Palestinian Authority TV broadcast a tribute to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) that included a poster honoring the three DFLP terrorists who committed the 1974 Ma’alot massacre, which left 26 Israelis dead, including 22 children.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, The PA TV tribute also honored terrorists who were described as “the heroes of Beit Shean, the pride of the Palestinian revolution.” These were three PFLP terrorists who killed four civilians in the Israeli city of Beit Shean.

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"The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar [non-believer]. You work, give us the money." — Anjem Choudary
A radical Islamic cleric who lives off the British welfare state has been filmed urging his followers to quit their jobs and claim unemployment benefits so they have more time to plot holy war against non-Muslims.

Excerpts of the speech, published by the London-based newspaper The Sun on February 17, have drawn renewed attention to the growing problem of Muslims in Britain and elsewhere who are exploiting European welfare systems.

In the video, Anjem Choudary -- a former lawyer who has long campaigned to bring Islamic Sharia law to Britain and other European countries (here, here and here) -- is recorded as saying that Muslims are justified in taking money from non-Muslims.

Speaking to a group of Muslim men, Choudary mocks non-Muslims for working in nine-to-five jobs their whole lives. He says: "You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o'clock. They go to work at 9 o'clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o'clock, watch EastEnders [a British soap opera], sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery. ... What kind of life is that? That is the life of the Kuffar [a non-Muslim]."

Choudary urges fellow Muslims to learn from revered figures in Islamic history who only worked one or two days a year. "The rest of the year they were busy with Jihad [holy war] and things like that," he says.

Choudary continues: "People will say, 'Ah, but you are not working.' But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar [non-Muslims]. So we take Jihad Seeker's Allowance."

At this point, Choudary takes a page from the late Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen in September 2011. In a 2006 sermon entitled, "Allah is Preparing us for Victory," al-Awlaki said that robbery and extortion of non-Muslims was the strategy the Islamic Prophet Mohammed prescribed for conducting Jihad, the central mission of Islam.

Al-Awlaki said: "Leave the farming to the people of the book [Jews and Christians], you go and spread the religion of Allah [through jihad]; they will farm and they will feed you; they will pay Jizya [extra tax], they will pay Kharaaj [tribute], if the sustenance of the Prophet Mohammed was through Ghaneema [plunder] it must be the best and better than farming, business, shepherding and better than anything else because Mohammed said: 'My sustenance comes beneath the shadow of my spear.'"

Accordingly, the British-born Choudary states that Muslims are entitled to welfare payments because they are a form of Jizya, an extra tax imposed on non-Muslims in countries run by Muslims, and a reminder that non-Muslims are permanently inferior and subservient to Muslims.

In another video, Choudary says: "We take the Jizya, which is ours anyway. The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar. They give us the money. You work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar [Allah is great]. We take the money. " He then adds: "Hopefully there's no one from the DSS [Department of Social Security] listening to this."

Choudary, who is married and has four children, enjoys a rather comfortable lifestyle that is being paid for by British taxpayers, year after year. In 2010, for example, The Sun reported that he takes home more than £25,000 ($38,000) a year in welfare benefits.

Among other handouts, Choudary receives £15,600 a year in housing benefit to keep him in a £320,000 ($485,000) house in Leytonstone, East London. He also receives £1,820 council tax allowance, £5,200 income support and £3,120 child benefits. Because his welfare payments are not taxed, his income is equivalent to a £32,500 ($50,000) salary.

By comparison, the average annual earnings of full-time workers in Britain was £26,500 in 2012.
According to The Sun, the university-educated Choudary is "notoriously vague about whether he works or has other money coming in. He is understood to be employed by a Muslim organization on a shoestring wage, which allows him to claim income support and free time to spread his message. Asked during a radio interview this week if he worked, he replied: 'Well, what I do is my business. I don't think it is important.'"

During an interview with BBC Radio 5 on February 17, Choudary was equally evasive on his sources of income. (The radio interview begins at 00:57 in the video linked here.)

Although analysts are divided over the question of how many followers Choudary actually has, no one disputes the fact that he is far from alone in exploiting the British welfare system.

Consider the issue of polygamy. Although the practice is illegal in Britain, the state effectively recognizes the practice for Muslim men, who often have up to four wives (and in some instances five or more) in a harem.

Social welfare experts believe there are at least 20,000 bigamous or polygamous Muslim unions in England and Wales. If the average size of such a "family" is 15 people, these numbers would imply that around 300,000 people in Britain are living in polygamous families.

According to British law, a Muslim man with four wives is entitled to receive £10,000 ($15,000) a year in income support alone. He could also be entitled to more generous housing and council tax benefits to reflect the fact that his household needs a bigger property.

The result is that the more children produced by Muslim polygamists, the more state welfare money pours in for their wives and themselves. By having a string of wives living in separate homes, thousands of Muslim immigrants are squeezing tens of millions of British pounds from the state by claiming benefits intended for single mothers and their children.

Those women are eligible for full housing benefits -- which reach £106,000 ($250,000) a year in some parts of London -- and child benefits paid at £1,000 ($1,500) a year for a first child, and nearly £700 ($1,000) for each subsequent one.

Welfare payments are also sent abroad to support children who live outside Britain.

In December 2010, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, said that Muslim immigrants who send a portion of their welfare payments to families back home are "heroic." She also said the government should make it easier for them to send the money home, and called for tax refunds to encourage more immigrants to follow suit, "in particular those who paid for their children to be educated in the Third World."

Another point of contention involves British taxpayers who are spending millions of British pounds to house unemployed Muslim immigrants in luxury homes across the country.

In August 2012, for example, Palestinian refugee Manal Mahmoud was given a new taxpayer-funded property after she and her seven children trashed a £1.25 million townhouse they had been living in in Fulham, West London. Mahmoud, who came to Britain in 2000 with her husband before they split up, says, "I am entitled to live in a house like this, even if I don't pay for it -- and get benefits."

In July 2010, Somali asylum seekers Abdi and Syruq Nur and their seven children, after complaining that their home in the Kensal Rise area of Brent was in a "poor" area, were given a £2.1million house in Kensington (one of Britain's most exclusive addresses) at a cost of £8,000 a month to the taxpayer. After Nur lost his £6.50-an-hour job as a bus driver in 2009, the family is totally dependent on state benefits. The new home is believed to be one of the most expensive houses ever paid for by housing benefit

In February 2010, it emerged that Essma Marjam, an unemployed single mother of six, receives more than £80,000 a year from British taxpayers to pay the rent on a £2 million mansion in an exclusive London suburb located yards from the house of Paul McCartney. Marjam also receives an estimated £15,000 a year in other payouts, such as child benefits, to help look after her children, aged from five months to 14.

Marjam said, "I moved here at the beginning of the month as I'm entitled to a five-bedroom house. I was in a three-bedroom council house but I needed a bigger place once my new baby came along. So the council agreed to pay the £1,600 a week to a private landlord as they didn't have any houses big enough. I'm separated from my husband. He's a solicitor in Derby, but I don't know if he's working at the moment. He doesn't pay anything towards the kids. Things are quite difficult between us. The house is lovely and very big, but I don't have enough furniture to fill it."

In November 2009, it was reported that former Somali asylum seeker Nasra Warsame, her seven children (aged from two to 16) and her elderly mother are living in a luxury £1.8 million five-story house in central London. Annual rent for the house costs British taxpayers £83,200.

Warsame's husband, Bashir Aden, and another of their children, are living in a separate property in nearby Camden. He said they live separately because the family is too big to fit under one roof. His two-bedroom flat is also paid for by housing benefit. Both homes are equipped with statutory plasma televisions and computers.

In October 2008, it emerged that Toorpakai Saiedi, a mother of seven originally from Afghanistan, was living in £1.2million seven-bedroom luxury house in Acton, West London, paid for by British taxpayers. At the time, she was receiving £170,000 a year in benefits, including an astonishing £150,000 paid to a private landlord for the rent of the property, equivalent to £12,500 a month.

Saiedi's son Jawad, a student who admitted he spent most of his time driving around in cars and playing billiards, said, "When the council chose to put us here we did not say no. If someone gave you a lottery jackpot, would you leave it? When I heard how much the council was paying, I thought they were mad."

British taxpayers have footed the bill for the Moroccan-born Najat Mostafa, the second wife of the Egyptian-born Islamic hate preacher Abu Hamza, who was extradited to the United States in October 2012. She has lived in a £1million, five-bedroom house in one of London's wealthiest neighborhoods for more than 15 years, and she raised the couple's eight children there.

Abu Hamza and his family are believed to have cost British taxpayers more than £338,000 in benefits. He has also received £680,000 in legal assistance for his failed US extradition battle. The cost of keeping him in a British prison since 2004 is estimated at £500,000.

Fellow hate preacher Abu Qatada, a Palestinian, has cost British taxpayers an estimated £500,000. He has also won £390,000 in legal aid to avoid deportation to Jordan.

The Islamic preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian, obtained £300,000 benefits before being exiled to Lebanon. The money was provided to raise his six children, including Yasmin Fostok, a single mother who makes a living as a pole-dancer in London nightclubs.

In February 2013, a judge in London acquitted two brothers from Pakistan who swapped houses in an effort to defraud British taxpayers out of £315,000. The Pakistani couples, who have 11 children between them, submitted bogus tenancy agreements for 16 years.

Judge Neil Sanders said, "The two men dishonestly represented through their wives to the London Borough of Redbridge that this was a genuine rental arrangement." But, he said: "You have both worked hard in terms of making a life for yourselves and in many ways the greatest punishment is the loss of your good name."

As for Anjem Choudary, he was also filmed saying that Islam will take over Europe. He said: "Now we are taking over Birmingham and populating it. Brussels is 30% Muslim, Amsterdam is 40% Muslim. Bradford is 17% Muslim. These people are like a tsunami going across Europe. And over here we're just relaxing, taking over Bradford, brother. The reality is changing. We are going to take England: the Muslims are coming."

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.

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GENEVA, February 28, 2013 – UN Watch expressed shock over anti-Jewish remarks delivered by Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan at a UN summit for tolerance, and urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon — who was present on the stage yet stayed silent — to speak out and condemn the speech.

The Geneva-based human rights group also called on Erdogan to apologize, and hoped US President Obama would press him to do so.

Speaking yesterday before a Vienna forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, a UN framework for West-Islam dialogue, Erdogan called Zionism, the movement founded in 1897 for Jewish self-determination, a “crime against humanity,” likening it with anti-Semitism, fascism, and Islamophobia. click here for Turkish news report.

“We remind secretary-general Ban Ki-moon that his predecessor Kofi Annan recognized that the UN’s 1975 Zionism-is-racism resolution was an expression of anti-Semitism, and he welcomed its repeal.”

UN Watch urged all members of the Alliance’s High Level Group, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “to denounce remarks that fundamentally contradict the very purpose of a forum supposedly dedicated to mutual tolerance.”

“Erdogan’s misuse of this global podium to incite hatred, and his resort to Ahmandinejad-style pronouncements appealing to the lowest common denominator in the Muslim world, will only strengthen the belief that his government is hewing to a confrontational stance, and fundamentally unwilling to end its four-year-old feud with Israel.”

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 Disgraceful Diplomacy: EU Leaks and Secret NGO Processes 

 NGO Monitor February 28, 2013

According to a news story in the Jerusalem Post (Feb. 27, 2013), the Israeli political advocacy NGO Breaking the Silence was responsible for leaking the latest internal EU document condemning Israeli policy. The “EU Heads of Mission Jerusalem Report 2012,” which recommends various sanctions against Israel, was not shared with the Israeli government. Many of the claims and conclusions in it are based on non-verified statements and prejudicial opinions of NGOs, which themselves receive funding from the EU and European governments. 

This highly irregular EU practice stands in stark contrast to good governance standards, which require consultation of a wide spectrum of political positions and expertise when formulating policy.

This episode, like numerous other instances of leaked internal EU documents, highlights the inappropriate relationship between European funders and their NGO grantees, which violates democratic and diplomatic norms. The secret cooperation between the EU and fringe NGOs produces damaging and ill-informed policies. This “echo chamber,” whereby the EU and European governments fund NGOs and then repeat their false, inaccurate, or misleading allegations in determining foreign policy, also exacerbates conflict between the EU and Israeli consensus positions.

NGO Monitor notes that Breaking the Silence was awarded a €166,538 grant from the EU for 2012-2013. It is unknown which other European-funded NGOs also had access to this internal EU document.

As seen in NGO Monitor’s freedom of information lawsuit against the EU, these are the same secretive backroom dealings that characterize the EU’s non-transparent NGO funding decision making.

Reportedly, in the next few weeks the EU will embark on a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative. However, the anti-diplomacy seen in the secretive cooperation with NGOs, behind the back of the Israeli government, threatens to further erode the EU’s credibility within Israel.

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US joins Russia in drawing ceasefire lines for ending Syrian war

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 28, 2013, 9:51 AM (GMT+02:00)
John Kerry on first foreign trip
John Kerry on first foreign trip
Incoming US Secretary of State John Kerry, on his first foreign trip, set forth what sounded like a new Obama administration policy for Syria in his remarks in Paris Wednesday, Feb. 27. They were accompanied by reports that the US was stepping up its support for the Syrian opposition. It would cover training rebels at a base in the region and non-lethal assistances and equipment, such as vehicles, communications equipment and night vision gear.

But Kerry’s remarks did not reflect a new policy but merely recycled old definitions which confirmed US disengagement from Syria, rather than “stepping up support” for the Syrian opposition “for the first time.” US supplies of nonlethal assistance to Syrian rebels date back to early last year. The US has moreover been training Syrian rebels in Jordanian bases near the Syrian border for more than a year to carry out three missions:

1. To seize control of Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal;

2. To create a pro-Western core command structure as a factor in post-Assad government;

3. To ward off the takeover of the revolt command by Islamist factions, including groups associated with al Qaeda.

It turned out that none of these three missions was actually achieved. The chemical weapons remained firmly in the hands of Assad and his army - which never used them, contrary to rebel claims; factions close to Al Qaeda grew stronger; and their role in the rebel command expanded as they were seen to be the best-armed and trained of any Syrian rebel faction.

The Obama administration finally came to the conclusion that the only way to contain Islamist forces and retain a modicum of American control over the rebels was to catch a ride on Russian President Vladimir Putin plans for Syria, even through they entailed preserving Bashar Assad in power through to 2014.

debkafile’s military and Russian sources reveal here for the first time that those plans hinge primarily on establishing armistice lines dividing the country into separate sectors and determining in advance which will be controlled by rebel factions and which by Assad loyalilsts. This is the first practical basis to be put forward for an accord to end the two-year old civil war between Assad and the Syrian opposition and it is designed to go forward under joint Russian-American oversight.

Our sources add that the teamwork between Washington and Moscow in pursuit of this plan is close and detailed. They have agreed to get together on the types of weapons to be supplied to each of the rebel groups and are sharing costs.

That is the real new American policy for Syria: It is based on Washington’s recognition of the new situation unfolding in Syria and the need to cooperate with Moscow, including acceptance of Assad’s rule, in order to salvage remnants of American influence within the Syrian rebel camp.

French President Francois Hollande showed he was quick on the uptake. No sooner had the Secretary Kerry departed Paris for Rome Wednesday, than Hollande was on his way to Moscow to scout out a role for France.

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Experts: Dead PA Prisoner was Not Harmed

The PA terrorist who died in an Israeli prison was not beaten, tortured or poisoned, experts find. Cause of death still not clear.

By Maayana Miskin - Arutz Sheva 7
First Publish: 2/28/2013, 6:18 PM

Security prisoners
Security prisoners
Flash 90
Palestinian Authority resident Arafat Jaradat was not harmed before his death, a team of medical experts has found. Jaradat died in an Israeli prison over the weekend, sparking days of riots as PA Arabs blamed Israel for his death.

An initial autopsy confirmed that Jaradat had died of a heart attack, but did not find a cause. That autopsy also ruled out the possibility of torture.

More in-depth findings publicized Thursday confirmed that Jaradat had not been poisoned, either. The new data also reconfirmed that Jaradat had not been beaten or tortured.

The PA has pointed to Jaradat’s broken ribs and bruising on his upper body as evidence of torture. However, medical experts say the damage is consistent with attempts to restart his heart using CPR.
Paramedics and doctors performed CPR for 50 minutes in an attempt to save Jaradat’s life.

While the latest findings ruled out several options, the team has still not found a conclusive cause of death for Jaradat.

Professor Yehuda Hiss of the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Professor Affeck, head of medicine in the Health Ministry, and Professor Barshak, head of pathology at the Sheba Medical Center, all among Israel’s top experts, took part in the autopsy.

The United Nations has called for an “independent and transparent” investigation into Jaradat’s death once the autopsy is over.

More on this topic

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Frustration forces Western shift on Syria

Syrian rebel fighters Despite the US shift in policy, arming the Syrian rebels remains a thorny and divisive issue
The situation on the ground in Syria may be becoming ever more desperate but it is the West's response to the crisis that was in the spotlight here in Rome.

The new US Secretary of State John Kerry in particular was under pressure to demonstrate some shift in the US position.

For two years now there have been two timescales, two clocks running.

On the one hand there has been the pace of developments on the ground. The fighting has spread, civilian casualties have mounted and there has been an exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries, not to mention vast numbers of internally displaced people inside Syria.

On the other hand there has been the international diplomatic clock, always seemingly running slow, belatedly responding to events but never quite able to shape them.

There has been a growing realisation over recent months that this dual timescale is not working.
The Syrian opposition has become increasingly frustrated with the support, or what it sees as lack of support, that it is getting.

It wants arms - especially sophisticated anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems that it believes would even up the military balance on the ground.
John Kerry and Moaz al-Khatib Moaz al-Khatib, the Syrian opposition leader appeared underwhelmed by the US promise of aid
The Syrian opposition at one stage threatened to boycott this Rome meeting altogether if there wasn't going to be some sign of a step-change in Western policy.

Well, change there has been. The US secretary of state indicated Congress would be asked for $60m (£40m) of additional aid for the Syrian opposition.

But this was only the start. More interesting was Washington's new willingness to supply non-lethal aid - rations and medical equipment - directly to the military opposition to the Assad regime.

Other countries are making their own shifts. "Britain's policy couldn't remain static in the face of an ever-deteriorating situation," said the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague as he left the meeting.
Britain, he said, would be using any changes in the EU arms embargo on Syria to the full.

"We will send equipment that we haven't sent before," he asserted, but for now this will still not include weaponry, though he would not rule out the future supply of arms if the situation continued to deteriorate.

Moaz al-Khatib, the Syrian opposition leader, appeared underwhelmed by the US shift. He did not specifically ask for advanced weaponry but he did mention how unfair it was that Syrian government forces were still receiving arms supplies.

He also pushed the idea of humanitarian safe corridors; an idea that seems to have had a second coming, made more relevant perhaps by the fact that the Syrian opposition now holds more territory.
So diplomatic shift there has been but probably not yet enough to concentrate minds in Damascus.
The signals though are clear. Diplomatic patience is running out. Mr Hague spoke of "a new phase in our response to the crisis in Syria".

His next comment was interesting. He spoke of the balance of risks changing in Syria. He noted the extreme human distress in the country and the fact that the risk of wider regional instability was growing all the time.

"Our policy cannot remain static in the face of an ever-deteriorating situation," he concluded.
So the international calculus is slowly shifting. The debate on arming the Syrian opposition is not going to go away. Non-lethal military aid looks to be the next step for some governments.
The problem is that the arming debate is no simple one. More weapons may even up the contest but equally could increase the bloodshed in the short term.

How could weapons be kept out of the hands of extremist Islamist groups? And is it really true, as some have argued, that supplying weaponry will boost the influence of Western governments among groups that will have a key role in any post-Assad Syria?

Western arms supplies in Afghanistan and Iraq suggest a more complex answer.

One reason the diplomatic clock has been moving so slowly is, in fairness, that while terrible events have been taking place on the ground, there are probably no easy diplomatic answers to be found.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Protecting The Assassins

"The leaders of the present day Islamic onslaught on Denmark and the West make no bones about their intention to eventually impose [strict Islamic] Sharia law on the infidel population and, thus, reduce Denmark's indigenous population to a state of Dhimmitude -- that is, slaves in their own country."
Lars Hedegaard

This is seen as hate speech by those who are fully in support of overlooking the vast excesses of Islam. That is, Islam as a religion whose purpose is to subjugate in full surrender to its unique faith in the one true god all that it can sweep before its relentless juggernaut onslaught. Jihad accomplished through the medium of courteous invitation, or jihad through the experience of violent conversion. Either will do.

Islam has slurred itself through the latter-day expression of violent jihad. Those among the Islamists whose rash youth is impatient and cannot tolerate the slow expansion of Islam throughout a resistant world and whose inspiration is martyrdom and death to inspire in the uncouth non-Muslims a fear of offending Islam have brought an entirely new awareness to the world at large of the menace that it represents for their well-being.

That awareness was more than adequately addressed by the statement issuing from Lars Hedegaard. A statement which, as president of his country's chapter of the International Free Press Society, made him a target for insulting the religion that claims for itself the title of peace promoter and exemplar of love for one's fellow man.

There is a certain dissonance here to be sure; for it is also a religion whose advent caused a split in the succession and succeeding rituals and beliefs upon the death of the divine messenger of Islam. Any criticism of Islam is interpreted as an assault upon the Prophet Mohammad, and the penalty is that of a capital offense. Any diversion from 'pure' original Islam is seen as an assault on its legitimacy.

Between the major sects there is a stark animosity so great that each treats the other as an abomination to Islam, a stark, insulting, insufferable assault upon the verities and blessings of Islamic purity. The penalty of that state too is death, and death is delivered accordingly in great miserable heaps of bloodied bombed-out bodies.  Mosques may be sacred institutions but they too are fodder for destruction representing the distorted, degraded version of Islam.

While Mr. Hedegaard feared for the ongoing legacy of his country's culture and heritage being absorbed and subsumed by an introduced, alien religion whose purpose is to steadily infiltrate and overcome resistance to its eventual conquest, he became subject to a fatwa. Although he escaped the fate intended for him by assassination he writes that he will likely now be forced to live a hunted man, in secret places to protect himself from death.

It is not enough to issue fatwas against those who offend Islam. The 57 Islamic countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have been attempting for a decade within the United Nations to have legislation brought into universal law to criminalize "Defamation of Religions". Lest any feel this to be an innocuous drive, one that seeks to have all religious devotion of all creeds equally respected, this is precisely the intended ploy.

But were the criminalization of defamers of religions to become fact, it would be Islamist theocracies, Muslim-majority countries of the world that would pursue legal action under the auspices of the United Nations against any perceived offenders who dare take the name of Islam, its Prophet or any of its institutions in vain. The world of religion is fairly relaxed, other than for fanatics of any religion, over the commonly increasing occurrence of religious criticism.

With the exception of Islam. Which was amply demonstrated when the cartoons of Mohammad were published in Denmark, and the world of Islam went berserk, people were killed, and boycotts of Danish products were launched. When suspicion of a Koran being abused is aroused, riots ensue. When Muslims turn away from Islam and toward another religion countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran and Pakistan consider apostates eligible for the death penalty.

Recrimination, intimidation, accusations and criminal charges are hardly what the world needs to inspire greater respect in religion. If those whose scholarship impels them to preach to their followers that they should scorn and defile the religiously significant symbols of another faith feel justified in this approach, yet feel their own religion requires protection, they should be censured.

If those who feel they are singularly entitled to abuse the human rights of others because of a belief in the superiority of their religion are enabled to do so because the larger world looks on forgivingly, then we are aiding and abetting our own downfall.  Accommodation of the politics of intimidation will agree with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and help them institute a law criminalizing defamatory religious statements.

If we keep making excuses of misunderstandings between faiths being responsible for such awkward situations as mass atrocities, we aid and abet those politics of religious entitlements for one, denying them for all others. Left of centre thought has it that Islam is the underdog, that violence and tribal antipathies resulting in mass death can be overlooked in the greater interests of harmony.

We see this writ large in the hallowed halls of the United Nations where its human rights bodies regularly elect genocidal murderers like Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir, and Syria's almost equally murderous president, Bashar al-Assad to represent various human rights commissions, as upstanding delegates, not as the murderers and human-rights abusers that they are.

The appeasement of savagely violent Islamic terror groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah in the hopes it will assuage their rage and soothe their emotional victimhood where they imagine themselves to be insulted and attacked by the West, will only encourage them to scurry about in their zeal to commit mayhem and mass slaughter the better to beat the West at its game.

And in allowing the steady migration of religious zealots to gain entry to Western-cultured countries of the world, where Muslims have preferred to leave their countries of origin to seek out preferential opportunities available to them in wealthy, advanced nations of the world, unlike the intellectual and social backwaters they come from and then find fault with the receiving culture and resolve to alter it to more accurately reflect their own, we are advancing our own cultural and spiritual demise.

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The Passion of the Converted

A passerby, right, pauses as William Whatcott (facing at left) protests homosexuality and abortion in 2009.
Ted Jacob/Postmedia News  A passerby, right, pauses as William Whatcott (facing at left) protests homosexuality and abortion in 2009.

Canada's Supreme Court has ruled. William Whatcott is guilty of violating Canada's hate speech law. He has notoriously strong views on his version of public and social morality. And he is entitled to his opinion. It's just that he refuses to keep his opinion to himself. Or to discuss his opinions discreetly with others who will agree with him. He prefers to proselytize, loudly, emphatically.

And while so doing, engraving the presumed sins of others on the minds of the public. Who mostly don't really care to hear him or to observe him in action. But this man is no shrinking violet; he appears in public venues with the full intention of being seen and heard, his message stentorian and accusatory; values not his own are reprehensible and that is his unalloyed view of reality.

Like most converts his passions are unbridled by reason. He is a Christian fundamentalist and that righteously sanctimonious mental state informs him in all he does. To be true to his beliefs he must shout out and accuse, damn the consequences. The consequences have been costly to him in time and money and no doubt aggravation. On the other hand, perhaps it's all been worth it to him for the attention it garners.

He claims to love homosexuals since the Christian church exhorts its faithful to do just that. On the other hand, he abhors, in the most vigorous manner conceivable, his view of the conduct of homosexuality, denouncing it as filthy and corrupt. He might know what others might not. Since he claims to have been a dangerous person in his youth, abusing drugs, prostituting himself with men to feed his drug habit.

He was involved in violent crime and hostage-taking, and ended up in prison. And it was there that he found his salvation in religion. Religious activism has since become his cause and his reason for existence. And in the process of his fanatical activism he has engaged in defamatory declarations, in making an utter nuisance of himself, in becoming a public spectacle of outraged morality.

He is a nurse by profession, has stood for political election, has dissented against films, abortion, politicians he doesn't like, Gay Pride Days, and anything else that offends his sense of religious proportionality. He has been charged with obstructing a police officer, causing a disturbance, and fought a finding of misconduct by the Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses, which he appealed and won at the Court of Appeal.

This latest finding of the Supreme Court of Canada cannot be appealed. But it will not halt his dedication to offending the sensibilities of those whose skin is thin, and who find his activities beyond distasteful and demeaning to themselves. They have the option of charging him with a human rights offense, or of simply ignoring him.

He deserves no less.

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Peace, Love (and Free Tuition)

"We probably solved the social problem -- the student crisis. But we definitely didn't solve the university problem. I'm concerned about our capacity to still be a good university system, to still give diplomas of quality compared to other jurisdictions."
Guy Breton, rector, Universite de Montreal

Mr. Breton still laments the success of the coalition of trade unions and student federations who succeeded in their determination to derail the previous Liberal government of Quebec which would have seen students contribute more to their heavily-subsidized education. The Liberals' planned tuition rise of $254 a year would still have left Quebec university and college students paying far less for tuition than any other province in Canada.

But this plan was hugely offensive to the student federations, an insult to their democratic rights. And they campaigned to uphold their 'democratic rights' against a government that sought to undemocratically oppress them. They certainly had the sympathy and support of the Parti Quebecois last fall, when they were out on the streets causing havoc. And as soon as Pauline Marois and the PQ were elected they cancelled the Liberal student tuition increase.

And were feted enthusiastically by those students and their federations who had campaigned for victory in their battle against the increase. Premier Marois let loose some talk of how just it would be that tuition be free of charge to students and that pleased them even more. And then she and her party took charge of the treasury. They saw the cupboard was bare and cut back on government funding of universities.

And there were the once-proud universities, cash-straitened by government and facing the reality of no student tuition increase. Quebec universities were facing the danger of losing under-funded programs. Even their famed medical schools had trouble maintaining their accreditation. So the PQ came up with a modest proposal of increasing tuition to match the cost of living. Instead of the Liberals' $254 yearly increase, they proposed $70.

Which transformed them instantly from a democratic government to an oppressive regime. Sending thousands of protesting students out onto the streets of Montreal on angry marches to once again disrupt traffic and infuse a little excitement into the winter scene, tossing ice-crusted snowballs at police and their mounts as a "first show of force", with more to come.

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Inmate Death: What the Media Chose to Ignore  
When is a terrorist not a terrorist?

Apparently, when it doesn’t fit the media’s narrative, like the coverage of Arafat Jaradat, who died in an Israeli prison this week.

Jaradat, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, was arrested for throwing stones that wounded an Israeli civilian. Five days later, he died of a possible cardiac arrest.

The death became an international story when Palestinian officials claimed the autopsy report indicated he died as a result of torture. Israeli officials countered that the autopsy was inconclusive and what the Palestinians were calling signs of “torture” – bruises on his chest and broker ribs – may have been efforts to revive Jaradat after his heart failure.

Regardless of how he died, the media has an obligation to tell the truth about who he was, not to cherry-pick elements of his biography to give him a particular image. The Los Angeles Times, to its credit, was one of the few media outlets to include information about Jaradat’s terrorist affiliation, noting:
Musa Jaradat said his cousin had never been arrested before, but was a member of the Fatah Youth Movement and, according to Al Aqsa members who attended his funeral, part of the West Bank military brigade.

The Irish Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, and McClatchy News were the only other major publications to note Jaradat’s membership in the terror group.

Beyond those notable exceptions, the media bent over backwards to whitewash Jaradat and even, in some cases, the fact that he committed a violent crime. Here is how the New York Times described Jaradat and what he did:

After weeks of intensifying protests in solidarity with the hunger strikers, attention turned Sunday to Mr. Jaradat, who relatives said worked at a gas station, was the father of a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy, and came from a family in which all the men had spent time in Israeli jails. He was arrested last Monday over throwing stones at Israeli cars near a West Bank settlement during November’s conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The Times takes pains to present Jaradat as a family man with two small children and a regular job, but ignores the fact that he was a member of  a group designated as a terrorist organization by the US and the EU.
The New York Times also downplays the violence of stone throwing. It notes a general fact about what Jaradat did, where he did it, and when. But it completely ignores the fact that there was at least one victim. New York Times readers would never know that Jaradat was directly responsible for injuring someone.

In fact, the treatment the stone throwing incident is consistent with the general trend of coverage that downplays stone throwing as a minor offense, not as an act of violence. As more media coverage of a burgeoning Third Intifida surfaces, it is essential that the media cover stone throwing as acts of violence capable of wounding and even killing innocent victims.

CNN‘s coverage improved on the NY Times slightly. It included information about the Jaradat’s crime, but still ignored his membership in a terrorist organization: “Jaradat had been held for interrogation since Monday for a 2011 incident in which an Israeli citizen was injured by rock-throwing Palestinian protestors. Jaradat confessed, Israeli security sources said,” CNN reported.

And it wasn’t just the New York Times and CNN that ignored Jaradat’s ties to terror, sticking to the established narrative of Jaradat as an upstanding citizen devoted to his family. Other publications that covered the story without mentioning the ties to al Aqsa Brigades included the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor,The Guardian,and The Independent,. among other media outlets.

There is a world of difference between reporting that a violent terrorist died in Israeli custody versus the prevailing narrative that a beloved father of two was tortured to death by Israel. As the story of Jaradat’s death continues to unfold, the media has an obligation to expose the public to Jaradat’s entire biography, not just those facts that are likely to draw sympathy.

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EU Reports Jerusalem Construction “Deliberate and Provocative’

by Chana Ya'ar EU Labels Jerusalem Construction “Provocative’   - Arutz Sheva 7
27 February 2013

The European Union is targeting Jewish construction in Jerusalem, calling it “systematic, deliberate and provocative.” Building projects in the eastern portion of Israel’s capital city are part of a strategy aimed at preventing the holy city from being divided and used as the capital for two states, the EU’s “Jerusalem Report 2012" claims.

Jewish construction in sections of the city restored to the capital and annexed following the 1967 Six Day War is seen by the EU as “the biggest single threat to the two-state solution,” according to the report seen by AFP on Wednesday.

This refers to construction projects such as basic upgrades to neighborhoods like Gilo, home to some 40,000 Jewish and non-Jewish residents in southern Jerusalem, and built in 1980; the more central neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol and French Hill, where residents first began living in 1970, and the outlying neighborhoods of Neve Yaakov, Pisgat Ze’ev, East Talpiot (Armon HaNatziv) and Ramot.

Relations between Israel and the European Union have been particularly tense in recent months, with Europe voicing increasing discontent over Israel’s plans to build more than 5,000 new homes for Israelis in and around the capital.

The report, authored by EU heads of mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah, flagged construction in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Har Homa, Gilo and Givat HaMatos as being “the most significant and problematic plans.”

All three were referred to as “settlements” rather than the neighborhoods of the city that they are.

“The construction of these three settlements is part of a political strategy aiming at making it impossible for Jerusalem to become the capital of two states,” the report warned. “If the current pace of settlement activity on Jerusalem’s southern flank persists, an effective buffer between east Jerusalem and Bethlehem may be in place by the end of 2013, thus making the realization of a viable two-state solution inordinately more difficult, if not impossible.”

Israel does not consider the division of Jerusalem to be an issue for consideration in talks with the Palestinian Authority. All of Jerusalem — Judaism’s holiest city, containing the Jewish People’s holiest sites – is considered Israel’s eternal, undivided capital.

The Palestinian Authority has demanded that Israel hand over nearly half of the city to create a capital for its hoped-for state, “Palestine.” The international community also dispute the status of the areas restored to the Israeli capital in the 1967 Six Day War and accuses Israel of violating international law in their annexation.

But many of the disputed neighborhoods in Jerusalem actually pre-date the state in one form or another, and were simply rebuilt on their original sites after Israel conquered the land from the Jordanians, who occupied the area from 1948 to 1967.

“If the implementation of the current Israeli policy regarding the city continues, particularly settlement activity, the prospect of Jerusalem as a future capital of two states – Israel and Palestine – becomes practically unworkable,” the executive summary states. “This threatens to make the two-state solution impossible.”

In 2012, tenders were issued for 2,366 new housing units – “more than twice” the total number issued over the preceding three years, the report noted.

As a concession to restart final status talks with the Palestinian Authority, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu froze construction for a 10-month period in all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – at considerable political cost to his party and government – at the behest of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010.

Nevertheless, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas reneged on his side of the agreement, grudgingly arriving towards the end of the freeze as a guest in the White House after having been dragged there by Jordan’s King Abdullah II and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Three meetings later, the “talks” were over, ended by a new demand by Abbas for an additional Israeli construction freeze in order to proceed further.

The report also noted an increase in clashes between Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem’s Old City, particularly at the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, and Islam’s third holiest. “With the peace process at an impasse and the region in transition, this increases exponentially the risk of a new crisis erupting over the site,” the report said.

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